Coronavirus, a Fashionable way to die? Medical care in America

Terminal illness is a fate that awaits us all. We know not the pathways of our personal  journey only that we will take one of those paths in a time not of our choosing.

I live in the land of the chronically ill. It is that time between health and end stage disease. The Foundation's niche is fatty liver disease but chronic illnesses of many kinds are passengers on the same train.

I deal with the newly diagnosed who are frightened and confused. I scheme ways to hold the devil back with stalwart warriors who fight for life. I comfort those for whom the journey is too hard and who are dying a death of despair. I walk with people who are triumphant after they receive liver transplants. I see the length and breadth and depth of this disease and as a society I see that we manage it badly.

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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Fatty Liver: What's the Connection?

In many cases where patients struggle with a heightened blood sugar level and/or excess weight and have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; their blood tests reveal a fatty liver - with high liver enzymes. As you may know, there aren’t any overtly obvious symptoms when it comes to a fatty liver; but it can be quite dangerous. If someone’s liver is filled with excess fat, it will struggle with its detoxification role, result in higher inflammation - and in turn, a higher risk of a heart attack. But did you know that Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism may also play a role in your liver becoming fatty? We’ll explore the connection here in order to inform potential patients suffering from such issues.

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CBD OIL a triumph of hope over reason? Does it affect the liver?

My poor inbox groans under the weight of CBD articles and pitches. I've hesitated to jump into this pit again but I get a steady stream of questions from patients about using it.

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We need to be clear about this issue.  CBD oil is biologically active. However, that doesn't mean it is good or bad for you. In reality we just don't know enough yet to have a valid opinion.

Let's be clear.  I'm not part of the debate about this plant.

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Can NASH/cirrhosis progression be stopped by diet

This time of year I get a lot of questions about whether it is possible to manage NASH/cirrhosis entirely with diet and can a stage 4 liver fibrosis improve.  Most people say no.  Once you have cirrhosis it is hopeless. Is that necessarily true?

There are a lot of new year resolutions about better health and diet but what really matters? What is possible? I changed my lifestyle as my personal therapy and the question is does it work? Here is a chart of my results since diagnosis.

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A message from SUNN

What have we learned from the SUNN Study?

As members and friends of the Foundation, you know about our efforts to promote early screening for advancing liver disease.  We believe it is morally wrong to allow people with advancing liver disease, but with no symptoms, to go untested until they develop stage 4 NASH, otherwise known as cirrhosis. Remember, that is the standard guidance of the medical profession. We believe that end stage liver disease is too late in the process to discover the problem. As a way to advance the argument we sponsored the SUNN Study (Screening for Undiagnosed NAFLD and NASH).

 

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The recruitment Phase of SUNN Study (Screening for Undiagnosed NAFLD and NASH) has been completed

The Foundation (FLF) announced today it has successfully completed participant recruitment in the SUNN study, a proof-of-concept study of screening for undiagnosed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in a self-selected, at-risk population within non-traditional, community-based settings. SUNN study has completed recruitment of 1,006 participants across various communities in South Houston and Galveston, Texas. Full results of SUNN study are anticipated to be released in early 2020.

“Completing recruitment for this proof-of-concept study is another important step forward for FLF’s ongoing community outreach, education and advocacy efforts toward proactive screening for advancing liver disease among at-risk populations for NAFLD and NASH,” commented Wayne Eskridge, FLF’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

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Exercise and NAFLD

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What Type of Workout should People with Fatty Liver Disease Complete?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease, owing in no small part to the increasingly high rates of obesity in the American population. In a 2019 study published in Gene Expression: The Journal of Liver Research, researchers found that physical exercise could benefit people with NAFLD - including those who had the disease in its most inflammatory form - nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In their study, they relied on a moderate exercise routine lasting 20-to-60 minutes for four to seven days a week. The routine included both aerobic and weights/resistance training. Their results showed that the positive effects of exercise were observed whether or not participants lost weight.

Both Aerobics and Strength Exercises are Key

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The Link between Gestational Diabetes and Fatty Liver

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Around one in seven births are affected by gestational diabetes - a severe threat to maternal and child health - as stated by the International Diabetes Foundation. Gestational diabetes is one of the reasons why maternal programs include careful testing and control of glucose levels. The disease can have long-term health effects for mothers and their children, heightening the risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney problems in children. However, one consequence many women do not know about, is that of fatty liver disease.

A 2019 Study Showing the Link between Gestational Diabetes and Fatty Liver

A recent study by Sarah R. Donnelly et al found that women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an increased risk of fatty liver disease nine to 16 years after giving birth. This is the case because chronic hyperglycemia is a risk factor for liver fat accumulation and potential liver dysfunction. Specific liver enzymes are created at

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Doctors may underestimate patient pain, But Why?

I was recently asked to talk about the patient view of liver disease by a group known as ICER, A nonprofit group that studies fair drug pricing.  They are working on how drugs for #NAFLD and #NASH might be priced.  The team includes a wide range of expertise which includes some doctors and during the discussion I talked about the fear people experience when diagnosed with cirrhosis or stage 4 NASH.

I was surprised when a primary care doc reported that he didn't see that much fear in his practice which made me wonder why our views of the average patient response was so different.

I think the answer lies in the nature of the relationship.  When we go to a doctor we are dealing with a power figure.  We hope for solutions to our  troubles and we want the doctor to think well of us and to help us.  We want to be a "good" patient and we are more likely to do our best to present our problems and to listen respectfully to what the doctor has to say.  It is a process which engages our attention. Most of us, even if we express our fears, will be reluctant to try to describe or act them out in front of the physician so it has an element of intellectual control even if fear grips us in the doctor's presence.

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Red Meat good - bad ? Another health information debacle

Big news, red and processed meats are now OK.  Another example of how the news and the drive of researchers to publish is making us crazy.  We all remember the butter bad, margarine good mess or eggs bad, no eggs ok.  Health news is designed to be something for everyone.  You can find support for anything you think you might like to try.  Entertaining I suppose and lots of jobs are created but if you are a patient, particularly a liver patient, this is all dangerous.

Here is the latest bombshell that all the talking heads are exploding over.

Red and processed meat are OK to eat, controversial new guidelines claim.

Since you are here you must be interested in liver disease so keep that in mind.  One of the irritating aspects of so much research is they speak about heart, diabetes, and cancer then generalize the comments as though the information is good for everyone.

A major issue here is saturated fat and the claim it is not an issue.  Well, for what they studied that is true.  The heart, for example burns almost nothing but fat and does pretty well with any of them.  Diabetes is a sugar issue and cancer is vastly complex but liver cancer is kind of in a class by itself and they don't address that.

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CBD Oil - Stranger Danger - be afraid, be very afraid

CBD oil is all the rage and many people want to try it. The health hustlers are gearing up to take advantage of the fear of sick people and they have no concern about whether you live or die.

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CBD shows promise but we don't really know the details yet and you can be confident that it won't be a miracle drug for everyone.  The issue today is that you have no idea what contaminants will be in the product you are buying.  CBD is being added to hundreds of products and recent testing is very disturbing.  How about these facts as food for thought?

Recent testing of the top-selling 240 CBD products for 300 contaminants showed 70 percent of them to be "highly contaminated" with heavy metals like lead and arsenic, herbicides like glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) and a host of other contaminants including pesticides, BPA and toxic mold. One product — by Ananda Hemp — contained levels of lead so high, it exceeded by 100 times what the EPA would consider actionable for drinking water.

 

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SUNN study milestone achieved

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is crazy ... he sees things that others do not and dreams of things that are thought impossible by the blind.

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We have reached our initial goal of screening 1,000 asymptomatic people who have no diagnosis of having liver disease.  We will be reporting the results in due time but this is a milestone rarely reached by non profits to be the sponsor and to execute a formal study.

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Sugary Foods And Poor Dental Care Increase Risk Of NAFLD

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Your sweet tooth and poor dental care could increase your chances of developing serious liver conditions. People of all ages with poor oral health, bleeding gums or loose teeth, have a 75% increased risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and liver cancer. Meanwhile, a study by a researcher at the University of California has linked regular consumption of added sugar to a number of serious conditions, including NAFLD.

Fructose Increases Risk of NAFLD

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A Parents’ Guide To Fatty Liver Disease in Children

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Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects nearly 10% of children in the US, aged from 2 to 19 years old. The condition has become more common in children over recent decades, partly due to an increase in childhood obesity. Parents and families have an important role in not just spotting signs of fatty liver disease in their children, but in addressing lifestyle and dietary changes in their family to help reduce their child’s risk of developing the condition.

Fatty Liver Disease In Children

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What Diet Should You Follow If You Have Fatty Liver Disease?

An article by Jackie

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image credit My Fit Station

There are no medical treatments for non-alcoholic related fatty liver disease, according to the American Liver Foundation – indicating the extent to which a healthy diet and exercise are key to preventing or reversing early-stage fatty liver disease. Far from having to excessively count calories or otherwise follow an intensely strict dietary regimen, people with fatty liver disease can progress significantly by embracing a nutritious, delicious Mediterranean diet. Known as ‘the heart-healthy diet’, it is also rich in healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids and low in refined sugars, and can be a nutritious tool against fatty liver disease.

Why The Mediterranean Diet?

 

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What to take to the hospital a post by Jackie

Getting Ready For A Hospital Stay

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As many as 30 million American adults have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a fatty liver disease characterized by inflammation and scarred tissue. More commonly referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a patient will often have no symptoms and may have only come to medical attention when tests have been carried out for something else. This may happen if an ultrasound shows that your liver looks unusual or if you have an abnormal liver enzyme test. You will likely be required to have a series of tests to determine the diagnosis and severity of the disease. Most of these tests and later any required treatment will likely require a stay in hospital.

Preparing For Hospital Stay

 

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Alcohol and aging a comorbidity of NASH

We don't normally write about alcohol abuse, but for people with an injured liver from other causes alcohol is particularly dangerous.  Since many people have cirrhosis without symptoms they likely won't appreciate the increased risks they have due to alcohol use.  This is becoming a bigger problem for our older population and the link below is to an excellent article from the National Council for Aging Care that is useful even if you are young.

Alcohol is a major part of the culture of the United States. In 2014, alcohol sales—which include beer, wine, liquor, and other alcoholic beverages—totaled nearly $225 billion. The following year, more than 15 million Americans over the age of 18 reported having Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), known more commonly as alcoholism. That number is even higher among people who haven’t reported the disease or have yet to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

A number of people in that group are seniors. About 10 to 15 percent of people don’t start to drink heavily until they are older in age, according to UCLA professor Dr. Alison Moore. Because of this, alcohol-related emergency room discharges among the elderly reached nearly a three-quarters of a million in 2012. This number—as well as the number of alcoholics who are also seniors—is expected to rise as the senior population grows to 80 million by the year 2050.

To first understand the severity of alcohol addiction among the elderly, though, we must first understand what an alcohol addiction is and can look like.

https://www.aging.com/alcohol-abuse-amongst-the-elderly-a-complete-guide/

 


A NAFLD/NASH review by Jackie

Fighting A Fatty Liver As We Age

When people think of an unhealthy liver, they most often think the leading cause to be alcohol-related, but an even greater concern is Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH), an abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver which can lead to cirrhosis. In the U.S. about 16.5 million people have NASH, with a majority of sufferers between the ages of 60 and 74 years old according to a 2018 report by the National Aids Treatment Advocacy Project. On the bright side, a fatty liver is a reversible condition at any age that can be managed and minimized by concentrating on healthy diet and lifestyle changes

Recognizing A Fatty Liver

Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis occurs in every age group but is most prevalent in seniors who are more prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes, both leading causes of NASH. An annual blood test is the simplest way to detect a fatty liver along with physical warning signs that include a swollen belly, red palms, a yellowish hue to the skin or eyes and larger than normal breasts in men. Whether the senior with NASH still resides at home or is being cared for in an assisted living facility, there are diets and programs that caregivers or family members can oversee to reduce the liver's size and prevent further damage.

 

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NASH: A Disease without Symptoms but Lots of Hope

What if you had a liver disease but nobody told you until it was too late?

Wayne Eskridge, Fatty Liver Foundation

Wayne Eskridge, Fatty Liver Foundation

Typically, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are silent diseases. They have no symptoms. Even if cirrhosis has developed, there are often no symptoms until the liver has become so damaged that the only option is a liver transplant.

Early screening for NASH is essential, but obstacles abound. While there is a quick, easy and economical method to screen for fatty liver disease, it is not widely available and screening in the absence of symptoms is often not part of standard medical practice policy. Medical coverage for the test also may not be available if the patient isn’t sick or doesn’t have symptoms.

This article was recently published in Real World Health Care.  Here is a link if you are interested in reading it.

http://www.realworldhealthcare.org/2019/07/nash-a-disease-without-symptoms-but-lots-of-hope/


Time for THE TALK --- oh no!!! not THE TALK

Sorry to those who have been here and are already serious about your health but we have a lot of new people who are trying to understand how to be kinder to their livers and who need to understand things that matter.

Lipid metabolism, big words that mean how does your body use fat.  We see endless articles about fat in our diets.  Endless contradictory claims about special diets, miracle foods, buy my secret pills, doctor invented. blah blah.  Very confusing if you aren't a bio-chemist.

The subject is vastly complex.  In this note I'll try to simplify just one subject that you can have some control over.

There are many paths to the inflammation that is NASH/cirrhosis and a potential killer.  Your food is really a complex soup of chemicals that the body uses to your benefit or tries to defend itself against.  With inflammation or NASH the balance between things that make it worse and those that make it better, in simple terms, determine the outcome of fibrosis and cirrhosis resulting from NASH.

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