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What is ITP Awareness Month?


Image is from Global ITP Awareness Toolkit

Many health conditions affect the daily lives of both people in the United States, and also people around the world. Some conditions are better known such as breast cancer and HIV, while other conditions may not have as much awareness. Blood disorders often fall into this category, as many people are unaware of the serious consequences these cause in patients’ lives.

ITP is one such disorder that often leaves sufferers and families feeling invisible since little is known to the general public and lack of knowledge can even be evident in many medical practices. A lack of visibility makes it difficult for this disease to obtain research funding and limits the treatments available. For this reason, ITP Awareness Month takes on additional importance, bringing public awareness and assets to a lesser known illness.

Understanding How Blood Works

In order to understand how ITP affects people, it is important to first understand how blood works. Blood is made of two primary parts: cells and plasma. The plasma is the liquid, consisting of multiple substances like fats and protein, but is primarily water. The cells are the working pieces, made up of red cells, white cells, and platelets. Red cells carry oxygen while white cells fight infection. Platelets are very tiny cells that work to stop bleeding. If a single part of your blood does not function correctly, it can have an effect on the entire system.

How ITP Affects Platelets

ITP stands for Immune Thrombocytopenia. Implied by the name, ITP is an immune disorder. As with better known immune disorders, this illness causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells. In the case of ITP, the healthy cells that are attacked are the body’s platelets. Since platelets are a vital part of clotting, problems with these cells can trigger a range of complications.

People with ITP are prone to bruises and purple spots on the skin. Signs of spontaneous bleeding, most skin conditions are mild. Many ITP patients complain of general fatigue and sometimes depression. More serious problems occur when low platelet counts begin to affect the digestive system, gastrointestinal system, or worse, the brain. Spontaneous hemorrhage caused be platelet deficiency in these areas can lead to serious complications including organ failure and even death.

ITP Treatment

Platelet counts offer a method to monitor, but not treat ITP. Normal counts should range from 150,000 to 400,000 per microliter of blood. ITP patients often have counts closer to 30,000, with a count of 10,000 indicating a serious condition and risk of catastrophic bleed. There is no known cure for ITP, but there are some treatments that have been shown to help treat symptoms and reduce the risk of fatalities.

The Mayo treatment describes the following therapies for ITP.

  • Immune globulin injections that increase blood count.
  • Steroid drugs that suppress the immune system as well as non-steroid immune suppressants.
  • Drugs that boost platelet production.

Severe cases of ITP that do not respond well to the above therapies may require additional treatment such as the surgical removal of the spleen or stronger experimental drugs with harsher side effects.

ITP Awareness Day

By promoting ITP awareness you can do your part to help improve treatments, funding and overall quality of life for those who suffer from ITP. The Platelet Disorder Support Association offers materials and media kits available online.



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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention


Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.


New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.


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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure


Image is from Medscape

Your kidneys are one of the most significant organs in the body. They are a pair of organs located towards your lower back and serve the purpose of filtering your blood to remove toxic and waste substances from the body. The toxic substances can be detrimental to your health if they are not removed out of the body.

What is a kidney failure?

Kidney failure is the condition where both of your kidneys or just one of them cannot serve their function to the required level of performance. This can be brought about by a myriad of factors that may interfere with the health and proper function of your kidney. Some of them include:

  • Kidney trauma
  • Some acute and chronic diseases
  • Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Severe dehydration

When your system is burdened with toxins and dangerous wastes resulting from a kidney failure, what follows are life threatening conditions that can be dangerous to your health. This is the reason why you should always seek the services of a doctor the moment you realize you have a kidney problem.

What causes kidney failure?

The following factors could predispose you to kidney failure

  • Loss of blood flow to the kidney

Kidney failure is often prompted by a sudden loss of blood flow to the kidneys. Some of the diseases and conditions that may lead to loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • Heart attack
  • Severe burn
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Urine elimination problem

When your body finds it difficult to eliminate urine from the system, there is a consequent build up and overloading of the kidneys. Certain cancers can lead to blockage of urine passageways. Such cancers include prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer. Other conditions which that can interfere with urination include

  • Trauma on the nerves controlling urination
  • Blood clots within the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Other causes

Certain diseases and conditions can lead to kidney failure. They include:

  • A clot of blood in the kidney
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Dyes used in certain imaging tests
  • Chemotherapy drugs (medications that treat autoimmune diseases and cancer)
  • Overload of toxins from heavy metals
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. (A disorder that causes blood clot in tiny vessels)

Types of kidney failure

Below are the types of kidney failure

Acute Prerenal kidney failure

Without enough flow of blood into the kidneys, the kidneys find it difficult to filter out the toxic wastes hence the occurrence of acute perennial kidney failure. This problem is usually solved once the problem leading to the low supply of blood has been determined.

Acute intrinsic kidney failure

Direct trauma causes this kind of kidney failure to either one of the kidneys or both of them. An accident or physical impact can lead to the trauma. Its causes are ischemia and toxic overload making it difficult for the kidney to perform its function in the right manner. Ischemia may be caused by

  • Obstruction of renal blood vessel
  • Shock
  • Severe bleeding
  • Glomerulonephritis

Chronic Prerenal kidney failure

This is the condition where the kidney begins to shrink thus losing its function. The primary cause of this is insufficient blood flowing into the kidneys.

Chronic intrinsic kidney failure

This usually occurs when there is a long-term damage to the kidneys as a result of intrinsic kidney diseases. Direct trauma causes these intrinsic kidney diseases to the kidneys like severe bleeding or insufficient oxygen.

Chronic post renal kidney failure

This is caused by a long-term blockage of the urinary tract thus hindering urination. The consequent is pressure which in turn cause kidney failure.



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What to Avoid: Gluten Allergy


Do you or a family member suffer from frequent or infrequent brain fog, lethargy, painful stomach maladies or a combination of each? The struggle is real. The acknowledgement of gluten allergies in the last decade has recently illuminated the often debilitating symptoms that affect upwards of 18 million people in the United States. One grain of wheat could make the difference between a better quality of life and barely getting by. So what can you do to stop something so seemingly insignificant from negatively impacting the way you live? Discover what to look for and what to avoid in your day-to-day routine to avoid needless pain and suffering.

Show Me the–Ingredients

When going gluten-free, consummate foodies may find the “food lifestyle” change a little daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways you can satisfy your taste buds and avoid the dangers gluten allergies can bring to your everyday nutriments.

1. Be vigilant. It’s simple, read the nutritional information! Do this and at the very least you will be aware of the possibility of gluten in your food choices.

2. Don’t just read the ingredients, read by the asterisk. For gluten sensitive stomachs, cross contamination of food items in factories that also process nuts, soy and wheat products can affect the most sensitive of stomachs. Many packaged products have additional information marked by an asterisk at the beginning or end of their ingredient list. If the product is produced in the same building as wheat products, you may want to set the food item back on the shelf.

3. Know your trigger words. Dextrin, barley, bleached flour, bulgur, beer, brown flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, various malt products and yeast products in food can cause the troubling and debilitating symptoms of a gluten allergy attack. If you see any of these in the ingredients, it’s best to steer clear and opt for a clearly marked “gluten-free” substitution.

4. Stay positive and look for options. The more options you find to replace gluten-rich products with gluten-free delicious alternatives the less tempted you’ll be to indulge in that little bit of tainted decadence that can bring on fogginess, cramping, nausea or shooting pains.

5. It is best to abstain. If you can’t find the information you need to determine without a doubt that what you put in your mouth is untouched by gluten, don’t bite. If there is a snack you just can’t live without, do the research. With gluten allergy awareness quickly becoming a must-have for food-producing companies in the current market, food companies post gluten information on their websites for quick and easy answers.

6. Expect nothing. What you may think as naturally gluten free, may be contaminated in processing and packaging. Gluten-free products are not guaranteed to remain gluten-free. Some companies may change the ingredients they use at their own discretion. Many companies engage in their own comprehensive food-testing and may have discovered gluten contamination in the process. If you peruse the numerous gluten-free food lists online that are periodically updated online, what was once gluten free could now be off the list.

Gluten isn’t just found in various foods. Shampoos, cosmetic products, medications, vitamins and even stamps and envelopes may all contain a form of gluten. From hot dogs to precooked flour dusted French fries, gluten is an ingredient that continues to find its way into our lives, but it is possible to avoid it. Thankfully as awareness grows, so does the list of food alternatives. Protect yourself by never making assumptions and you’ll be able to exemplify what it means to live a gluten-free life!

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Celiac Disease


Image is from Gastroenterology Consultants Orlando

Celiac Disease: Patient Guide and Treatment Information

For people with celiac disease, going gluten-free is a medical necessity rather than a choice. Celiac disease is a serious digestive disorder that is triggered by the protein gluten. When people with celiac disease eat foods that have gluten, such as barley, rye and wheat, their immune system responds by damaging the intestine. Over time, this results in the body being unable to absorb nutrients. Celiac disease leads to a host of problems, including:

  • Malnourishment
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Here are some of the symptoms of celiac disease. If you have these symptoms, check with your doctor for an official diagnosis. There are many other diseases that could be causing these symptoms, as well.

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Swelling in the abdomen or feeling of fullness
  • Foul-smelling, pale stools that float
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?

Celiac disease can be diagnosed by your physician. They will ask you for a complete family medical history. Then, you physician may order a physical exam and other tests, such as genetic tests, blood test or a biopsy.

Treatments for Celiac Disease

There is no cure for celiac disease. The only treatment is to remain on a gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet will significantly reduce the symptoms of this disorder and may eventually end the symptoms altogether as the villi of your intestines are healed. Eating any gluten at all will restart the damage to your intestine. Therefore, you will have to remain on a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life.

In some cases, the damage to the intestines is so significant that eating a gluten free diet will not help. If this happens, the only way to get nutrients is intravenously.

Living with Celiac Disease

Living with celiac disease requires a big change in your diet. A true gluten-free diet will limit what you can eat. You cannot eat many of the staples, including:

  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Instant coffee
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Yogurt
  • Pizza
  • Processed foods

Read food labels carefully before eating any food to be sure that it does not contain wheat or any other type of gluten. Some patients with celiac disease can eat oats and others cannot. So, if you have celiac disease, ask your doctor whether or not you should consume oats. Just be aware that packaged oats are sometimes contaminated with wheat.

It is also a good idea to pay close attention to over-the-counter capsules, vitamins and tablets as many of these contain wheat starch, which is used as a binding agent in capsules and tablets. Gluten is present in barley so avoid beer. Brandy, whiskey, wine and other alcohols are fine as they do not contain gluten.

It is always a good idea to work with a dietitian, who can provide you with more information about a gluten-free diet.

When eating in restaurants, you will have to ask what the ingredients are in each dish that you order. Eating just a small amount of gluten will cause some people with celiac disease to vomit or have severe diarrhea that lasts for hours.

Even though you have celiac disease, you can still enjoy a healthy diet. You can get pasta and bread that are made from other types of flour, such as rice flour. In addition, many food companies have significantly increased their gluten-free offerings over the last couple of years as gluten-free has become quite popular. In addition, you can enjoy fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meats, as long as they have not been artificially processed.


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Lupus Symptoms


Image is from Lupus Foundation of America

Millions of people suffer with the autoimmune disease known as Lupus. This chronic inflammatory disease affects a person’s immune system. Rather than fighting to protect your body from viruses and bacteria, the immune system actually attacks various organs and tissues. Since, Lupus can affect different parts of the body, its symptoms vary greatly from person to person. The intensity of these symptoms also varies greatly, but most people experience flares, which will worsen and improve randomly.

Below is a look at some of the main symptoms of Lupus.

  • Anemia – Characterized by lower than normal levels of red blood cells in the body’s blood.
  • Chest Pain – Chest pain that occurs when taking a deep breathe. This can be caused by an inflammation of the pleura membrane that surrounds the lungs, also referred to as Pleurisy.
  • Dry or Swollen Eyes – Lupus can cause dry eyes or even swelling and pain in the area surrounding the eyes.
  • Fatigue – Lupus oftentimes causes extreme fatigue that is typically more severe during and immediately after a flare.
  • Fever – Many patients experience unexplainable fevers.
  • Hair Loss – Depending on which organs and tissues are affected, Lupus may cause hair loss.
  • Headaches – Many Lupus patient complain of severe headaches, which may be accompanied by confusion or even memory loss.
  • Joint Pain – Lupus can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints in the areas affected by the disease,
  • Photosensitivity – Some Lupus patients also experience a sensitivity to the sun and the light. In these cases, it is best to avoid direct sunlight when possible.
  • Rash – Many Lupus patients, but not all, experience a distinguishable rash on their face. This rash typically takes on a butterfly shape and spreads from the bridge of the nose outwards over both cheeks.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon – This phenomenon causes a person’s fingers and/or toes to turn a whitish or bluish color when subjected to intense stress or extreme colds.
  • Shortness of Breath – In addition to chest pain, Lupus patients may experience periods of shortness of breath.
  • Skin Lesions – These types of lesions are most common among those whose Lupus affects their skin. Overexposure to direct sunlight should be avoided because this can worsen the lesions.
  • Swelling – Lupus patients commonly show signs of swelling in their feet and legs.
  • Unusual Blood Clotting – When Lupus affect the blood cells, a person may experience unusual blood clotting.
  • Ulcers – Some people with Lupus also experience frequent ulcers in the nose and/or mouth.

Lupus is sometime referred to as “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms are very similar to several other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems and fibromyalgia. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss these concerns.

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Understanding Celiac Disease


Image is from Dr.Starpoli

Celiac Disease is a genetic, digestive, autoimmune disorder that is characterized by damage to the small intestine when you consume gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. If you have Celiac Disease and ingest gluten, your body reacts with an immune response that attacks and eventually damages the villi in the small intestine. Villi are tiny, finger-shaped projections that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption. Malfunction of the villi can lead to malnutrition.


Celiac Disease is diagnosed symptomatically, along with a blood test to look for a high level of certain antibodies and a biopsy of the small intestine. An estimated 1 out of every 100 people worldwide have the disease. It is also hereditary, so if you have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with it, your chances of developing the disease increases to approximately 1 out of 10.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Weight loss

While Celiac Disease cannot be cured, it can be managed, so that you can go on to live a long, healthy life.


There is only one treatment for Celiac Disease and that is to eat a gluten-free diet. Fortunately, there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free such as:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

There are also a growing number of gluten-free products that are being developed by manufacturers.

There is, however, a little bit more to managing Celiac Disease than just eliminating gluten from your diet. You also have to make sure you are getting the proper amount of nutrients and vitamins including:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin
  • Fiber

Weight gain can also be a problem for you if you are treating Celiac Disease, because you are now absorbing more calories from your gluten-free food.

Life with Celiac Disease

There are several steps you can take to live more healthfully:

  • See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) – He or she can help you to understand what foods are safe to eat and what you should avoid. An RDN can also help you with meal planning and what to do when eating in a restaurant. They will also ensure that you are receiving the proper vitamins and nutrients from your gluten-free diet and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Try Alternate Grains – There are several grains that can be used in place of grains with gluten. These include: corn, rice, amaranth, sorghum, millet, quinoa and teff. There is also a large variety of plant foods and starches you can consume, such as: potato, buckwheat, flax, lentils, soy, tapioca, yucca, wild rice, and Indian rice grass. You can also speak to your grocer and ask for some of these alternatives to be put in stock. Most grocers will do their best to accommodate you.
  • Learn about Ingredients – Many foods contain gluten even if they are barley, rye, and wheat-free. For example, soy sauce, malt, and modified food starch all contain gluten. Most processed foods and condiments contain gluten, as well. If you have Celiac Disease, it is critical to start reading ingredient lists on labels.
  • Look for Gluten-Free Labels – While manufacturers are creating more and more gluten-free foods, if it doesn’t say gluten-free on the label, don’t purchase it. Something as seemingly innocuous as a rice mix can have traces of gluten in it.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, it can actually be fun to create your own gluten-free recipes. After awhile, you will know exactly what products you can enjoy to live a healthy, happy, productive life.


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Understanding Gluten Intolerance


Image is from Doctor Doni

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt, and other grains. A gluten intolerance does not necessarily mean you have Celiac disease. There are many people who cannot tolerate gluten that do not test positive for Celiac disease. Tests for Celiac disease include:

  • Biopsy of small intestine
  • Reticulin antibody test
  • Endomysial antibody test
  • Transglutaminase antibody test

Many of the patients who tested negative for Celiac disease do have results that indicate they are gluten intolerant, however, which is a good starting point to receiving proper treatment.

How to Test for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

The Gliadin antibody test is often positive when other tests, such as those above, are negative. While Gliadin antibodies will not result in a diagnosis of Celiac disease, they do indicate that your immune system is reacting against the Gliadin, which is a part of what makes up gluten.

Celiac disease is just another name for a condition called villous atrophy, which causes visible changes in the lining of your digestive tract. While villous atrophy can result from an immune reaction to gluten, it is only one possible result. In a nutshell, Celiac disease is just one type of gluten intolerance.

Other Tests for Gluten Intolerance

IgE and IgG are antibody tests for allergic reactions that can include numerous foods and food components. In this case, these tests are run to determine gluten intolerance. Most non-Celiac gluten sensitivity patients have elevated antibodies to:

  • Gluten
  • Gliadin
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Spelt

These patients usually feel much better after eliminating the foods they test positive for. In addition to several GI symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, or gas, patients with gluten sensitivity can also experience:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Eczema or other skin rashes
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Arthritis

What if You Already Know You Can’t Gluten?

According to Dr. Stephen Wangen, co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Centers in Seattle, WA, and Los Angeles, CA, there are many patients who determine, through trial and error, that they can’t eat gluten. And if you have already found this to be true and have stopped eating gluten, it is highly likely that any tests run will come back negative.


The treatment plan for any type of gluten intolerance is as simple as it can be complicated: avoid gluten. It is complicated, because gluten hides in many foods that you would not think contained any gluten. One example of this is corn syrup. Corn syrup contains gluten and it is a very common ingredient in so many of our processed foods today. It is even most sodas, condiments, sauces, and ice creams.

Avoiding the list of grains above is the easy part, however, in order to maintain a gluten-free diet, you must read labels on every product you buy. It sounds daunting, but after a few trips to the store, you will have a good working knowledge of what you can and cannot digest. Then you will just have to read the labels on any food product you have never eaten before.

More and more grocery stores are now carrying a gluten-free line of foods and many of them are quite tasty. Again, you will go through a process of trial and error trying these new foods and determining whether you like them or not, but it is definitely worth it.

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Understanding Hepatitis B


Image is from MedicineNet

Hepatitis B is an infection in your liver. It can cause cancer, liver failure, or scarring, and it can be fatal if left untreated. It is transmitted when you come in contact with body fluids, blood, or open sores of an infected person.

The good news is, however, that most cases of the disease resolve in a few months, because your immune system kicks in to fight it it off. Once it is resolved, you are then immune to it, which means you cannot contract it again.

How Do You Know If You Have It

When you first get it, the warning signs include:

  • Jaundice – This is when your skin and/or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, and your urine turns orange or brown.
  • Bowel movements are light in color.
  • Fever
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Your symptoms may not show up for one to six months, and about one third of those infected, do not experience any symptoms at all. It is important to see your doctor for a blood test if you believe you have been exposed.

What Happens If You Have It

Most people recover, and your doctor will be able to confirm that when your blood tests show no sign of infection.

A few people, however, will not get rid of the infection. This is determined if your blood tests are still positive after six months. At this point you may not have any symptoms, but you are a carrier of the disease. This means you can spread it to others by:

  • Contact with your blood or an open sore.
  • Unprotected sex.
  • Sharing syringes or needles.

The disease does eventually resolve in a small number of carriers. For the rest, it becomes a chronic condition, and due to the ongoing infection, you can develop the scarring or cancer mentioned above.

If you are currently infected or a carrier, you may not donate:

  • Blood
  • Plasma
  • Sperm
  • Tissue
  • Organs

You also have a responsibility to tell anyone you may infect, such as sexual partners, your dentist, or your doctor, so that the necessary precautions can be taken.

How It Is Treated

It is important to see your physician as soon as you believe you may have been infected. He or she will administer a vaccine and a shot of hepatitis B immune globulin. This protein will help fight off the infection by boosting your immune system. You may have to go on bed rest to ensure a faster recovery.

You will also have to avoid liver-damaging substances such as Tylenol and alcohol. It is important to check with your doctor regarding all drugs, supplements, or herbal treatments. Some of them can be harmful, too. Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This will also help you fight off the infection.

If your infection resolves, your doctor will tell you that you are an inactive carrier. If it does not resolve within six months, your diagnosis will be chronic active hepatitis B, and he or she may prescribe some of the following treatments:

  • Interferon alfa (Intron A, Roferon A, Sylatron) – This is an injection that you take for at least six months. While it does not cure the disease, it does treat the inflammation.
  • Lamivudine (Epivir) – This medication is available in liquid or tablet form that you take once per day. Most patients tolerate it well. It is not recommended for long-term use, because you can become immune to it.
  • Aidfovir dipivoxil (Hepsera) – This works well for patients who do not respond to Lamivudine treatment. It comes in a tablet form. High doses, however, can cause kidney problems.
  • Entecavir (Baraclude) – This is the newest medication available. It is available in a tablet or liquid form.
  • Tenofovir (Viread) – This medication is available in tablet or powder form. You will need routine tests to ensure it is not damaging your kidneys.

Should You Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine

You should be vaccinated if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Come in contact with body fluids or blood of infected family members or friends.
  • Use needles to administer recreational drugs.
  • Have sex with more than one person.
  • Are a healthcare worker.
  • Work in a jail, school, or daycare center.

While Hepatitis B is not curable, it’s treatable and occasionally resolves on its own. Be sure to take the precautions above to minimize your risk of contracting the disease, and see your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any symptoms.

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Understanding Hepatitis A


Image is from Travel Vaccination New York

Guidelines for Understanding Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral disease of the liver that can be transmitted up to 14 days before you show any symptoms yourself, as well as during your symptoms. Diagnosing the disease requires a medical blood test. The typical painful and depleting symptoms indicating Hepatitis A include:

Contagion Factors

Hepatitis can be transmitted through contact with foods that have been contaminated with exposure to a diseased person’s urine, fecal matter, and polluted with foods, water, ice and bodily fluids contaminated by a person with Hepatitis A. This can be avoided by being careful to never:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and any other foods that became contaminated during handling by infected workers,
  • Eat raw shellfish harvested from contaminated water,
  • Swallow contaminated ice,
  • Using shared hypodermic needles,
  • Unprotected sexual contact

Risk Factors are high for those residing with infected persons, traveling to areas with high concentrations of Hepatitis A and participating in sexual relations with an infected person.

Vaccine Immune Globulin

Getting vaccinated is your best defense against Hepatitis A. If you come in contact with someone with Hepatitis A, you should acquire the medication immune globulin within 2 weeks of exposure. Another defense is practicing good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, before and after handling food or contact with soiled diapers and undergarments.

The vaccine is administered by your physician in doses and is urgently recommended for anyone who may have been or may be soon exposed to the hepatitis virus. This includes all of the At Risk for Contamination persons as above referenced, plus persons with blood clotting difficulties or diagnosed with a long-term liver disease.

While there is no set treatment for this strain of hepatitis, your physician will monitor you to determine that your liver is strengthening and healing. In healthy individuals, symptoms will cease in about sixty days. If the liver does not heal and deteriorates without the availability of treatment, the only recourse for the patient is to become a candidate for liver transplant, a stressful and serious procedure that is not always successful and requires prescribing of drugs affecting the auto- immune system, increasing the patient’s risk for other diseases. Fortunately, you can only become ill with Hepatitis A once if you have a healthy body to begin with, as your healthy body will build its own defense against a future infection.

Child Care Liver Disease Dangers

The disease can spread quickly in children’s day care centers. Workers could spread the virus if they don’t wash their hands thoroughly after changing each diaper. Washing their hands and putting dirty diapers in a covered diaper pail will help prevent Hepatitis A spreading into all age groups attended as well as all staff and personnel.

Children also spread the disease as well as similar ailments due to children not yet being well trained in safe hygiene in their toilet habits. Contamination can spread very fast through a day care center if the hygiene of children and staff is not strictly enforced and watch-dogged.

Resources for Families

There are resource agencies for the education and counseling of patients and their families pertaining to viral hepatitis. They include:

  • American Liver Foundation,
  • Hepatitis Foundation International,
  • Hepatitis Branch of the U. S. Center for Disease Control.

These agencies provide educational materials and group support assistance for family members as well as patients affected by Hepatitis A.

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