DDAR Blog

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

Hepatitis Awareness Month

May has been designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in concert with all public and private healthcare providers, are working to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging at risk populations to get tested. 

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, most often caused by one of several viruses.  In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV), Unlike Hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, Hepatitis B and C can become chronic, lifelong infections. More than 4 Million Americans are living with Chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, but most do not know they are infected.  Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver problems, including liver cancer.  According to the CDC, at least half of the new cases of liver cancer are from chronic Hepatitis C infection. Every year 15,000 Americans die from liver cancer or chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis.  The number of new cases of liver cancer is highest amongst Asian and Pacific Islanders and is increasing among African Americans, baby boomers and men. 

Hepatitis A infections have dramatically declined in the United States over the past 20 years, due in large part to vaccination efforts.   The HAV vaccine is recommended for all children starting at 1 year of age; men who have sexual contact with other men; users of IV and non-injected illegal drugs; people with chronic liver disease and people working with HAV in research laboratories.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HBV infection.  According to the CDC, one in 12 Asian Americans is infected with HBV, and nearly two in three do not know they are infected.  Asian & Pacific Islanders make up 5% of the US population and account for more that 50% of the Americans with HBV.  Although people with HBV often have no symptoms, up to 25% of people with Hepatitis B will develop serious liver problems.   The CDC recommends HBV vaccination for all people born in Asia and the Pacific Islands; all infants; all children under the age of 19; people with sex partners who have HBV; sexually active people who are not in a long term monogamous relationship; people who share needles or other drug –injection equipment; healthcare workers; people with end-stage renal disease; residents of facilities for developmentally disabled persons; people with chronic liver disease; and people with HIV infection.

Hepatitis C ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong illness that attacks the liver. Many people can live with HCV for decades without having any symptoms. Left untreated, HCV can cause serious liver damage and liver failure. Chronic HCV is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.  According to the CDC, all people born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with HCV than other adults. There are an estimate 3.2 million Americans with chronic HCV.  The CDC recommends that all baby boomers get tested for HCV infection.  They also recommend testing for current or former injection drug users; persons treated for blood clotting problems before1987; persons who received blood transfusions before July 1992; persons with abnormal liver tests or liver disease;  health care workers who are exposed to blood from a needlestick puncture and persons with hIV.  

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

Hepatitis Awareness Month

May has been designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in concert with all public and private healthcare providers, are working to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging at risk populations to get tested. 

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, most often caused by one of several viruses.  In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV), Unlike Hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, Hepatitis B and C can become chronic, lifelong infections. More than 4 Million Americans are living with Chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, but most do not know they are infected.  Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver problems, including liver cancer.  According to the CDC, at least half of the new cases of liver cancer are from chronic Hepatitis C infection. Every year 15,000 Americans die from liver cancer or chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis.  The number of new cases of liver cancer is highest amongst Asian and Pacific Islanders and is increasing among African Americans, baby boomers and men. 

Hepatitis A infections have dramatically declined in the United States over the past 20 years, due in large part to vaccination efforts.   The HAV vaccine is recommended for all children starting at 1 year of age; men who have sexual contact with other men; users of IV and non-injected illegal drugs; people with chronic liver disease and people working with HAV in research laboratories.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HBV infection.  According to the CDC, one in 12 Asian Americans is infected with HBV, and nearly two in three do not know they are infected.  Asian & Pacific Islanders make up 5% of the US population and account for more that 50% of the Americans with HBV.  Although people with HBV often have no symptoms, up to 25% of people with Hepatitis B will develop serious liver problems.   The CDC recommends HBV vaccination for all people born in Asia and the Pacific Islands; all infants; all children under the age of 19; people with sex partners who have HBV; sexually active people who are not in a long term monogamous relationship; people who share needles or other drug –injection equipment; healthcare workers; people with end-stage renal disease; residents of facilities for developmentally disabled persons; people with chronic liver disease; and people with HIV infection.

Hepatitis C ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong illness that attacks the liver. Many people can live with HCV for decades without having any symptoms. Left untreated, HCV can cause serious liver damage and liver failure. Chronic HCV is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.  According to the CDC, all people born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with HCV than other adults. There are an estimate 3.2 million Americans with chronic HCV.  The CDC recommends that all baby boomers get tested for HCV infection.  They also recommend testing for current or former injection drug users; persons treated for blood clotting problems before1987; persons who received blood transfusions before July 1992; persons with abnormal liver tests or liver disease;  health care workers who are exposed to blood from a needlestick puncture and persons with hIV.  

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

 

Early detection is vital, over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is one of the most detectable and, if found early enough, most treatable forms of cancer.

 

If you’re 45 or older, getting a screening test for colon cancer could save your life. Here’s how:  Colon cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn't be there. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. A screening colonoscopy can find polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. A screening colonoscopy can also find colon cancer early. When it is found early, the chance of being cured is good.

 

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 and then keep getting screened regularly, we recommend every 5 years.  Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk—

 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome).

 

If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested. 

 

Living with Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects over 780,000 American.  The combination of the right medication management and lifestyle habits can help you manage your symptoms, and allow you to pursue your personal and professional goals. 

Here are a few healthy tips to help control your Crohn’s Symptoms. 

  1. Stay Active:  For people who are able, exercise helps maintain overall health and reduces stress, which can be helpful for Crohn’s patients. Daily Yoga exercises has also been found to helpful too!

     

  2. Get Support: Join the monthly support groups hosted by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. A place where you can speak freely and openly with people who do share your pain.

     

  3. Avoid Triggers:  Avoid dietary changes and stick to a diet of lean protein and vegetables.  Some people with Crohn’s stop gluten or lactose or reduce fiber, best to start keeping a food journal to help you identify food problems. 

     

  4. Find the Right Medicine: Different medicines work for different people.  Work with your gastroenterologist to find the right medication to control inflammation and flare ups.  In some cases, your doctor may recommend biologics.  They are medications that work on your immune system to control inflammation. 

     

While there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease there is a wide range of treatment options that can help control symptoms and new medications coming to market each year.  Your Doctors at Digestive Disease Associates of Rockland are here to help!

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