12 Healthy Diet Tips for Hepatitis C and Liver Disease

Dealing with liver disease or any chronic illness can be challenging enough and can bring an out of control feeling. Your diet is something you can control. It gives you a sense of being behind the wheel with your health.

The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is true.  What we eat affects our entire body, especially our liver.  The liver is the powerhouse of the body.  It is the second largest organ and helps with many vital functions.  When our liver is unhealthy, it affects our entire body, even your immune system, which helps you fight disease.

Think of your liver in terms of a highly efficient engine and filter.  What you eat, drink and expose to your body is chemically broken down by your liver and affects your immune system and many other functions of your body.

 

It’s important to eat and drink the right fuel in order to operate effectively. With having Hep C, I learned 12 healthy diet tips for Hepatitis C or any liver disease that help the liver do its jobs and help repair some liver damage.

The American Liver Foundation states that eating an unhealthy diet can even lead to liver disease.  For example, a person who eats a lot of fatty foods is at higher risk of being overweight and having (NAFLD) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

An unhealthy diet and exposure to dangerous chemicals can do damage to your liver and cause it not to function properly.  Like ‘sludge’ in your gas tank an unhealthy diet can slow down or worse, lead to compromised liver function.

When I was first diagnosed with Hep C over twenty years ago, along with seeing my liver specialist, I saw a registered dietitian for nutritional counseling.  I wanted to know from having Hepatitis C what kind of diet was best.

12 Healthy Diet Tips for Hepatitis C and any liver disease is:

  1.  Eating foods from all food groups in healthy portions such as whole grains, lean proteins, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
  2. Eating foods with high fiber such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and whole grains are liver healthy foods.  Fiber it up, it’s nature’s broom to help eliminate toxins from the body.
  3.  Eat a well balanced diet, but eat lean proteins from poultry, fish, and plant based proteins.
  4. Limit red meat due to this is harder and takes longer for your system to break it down, plus it can contribute to bloating.
  5. Avoid uncooked shellfish such as oysters and clams or other uncooked meats.
  6. Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar and salt.
  7. Limit eating high fatty foods.
  8. Limit eating fried or processed foods.
  9. Stay within a healthy weight range because the liver can function better than if we’re over or under weight.
  10. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is also better than large meals.  Your liver has to work harder to break down high fat and larger meals.  This will also help stabilize blood sugar, cravings, and the bloated, sleepy feeling that can come from eating larger meals.
  11. It is best to limit foods that have a lot of sugar and high sodium (salt). High sodium foods and eating too much protein will make you retain fluid and can lead to excess toxins in your blood stream.   Be careful not to limit your protein too much because it can result in a lack of certain amino acids that is essential for your body to function properly.
  12. Drink plenty of pure water, filtered if possible.  Drink at least 64 ounces a day.  Avoid Alcohol.  Alcohol is like throwing gas on a fire with liver disease and increases damage.

 

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Always consult your physician before beginning any treatment program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.

Article Source:  https://www.lifebeyondhepatitisc.com/2015/06/ten-healthy-diet-tips-hepatitis-c-liver-disease-2/

How to Prevent the 2018 Allergy Season From Getting the Best of You

 

As February drags on, many of us find ourselves at the point where we would give almost anything for a time machine that can catapult us into spring, when we can finally put away our bulky jackets, we won’t have to worry about every flight being cancelled due to snow or ice, and this year’s dangerous flu season finally starts to wind down. “Everything will be better in spring,” we wistfully tell ourselves, conveniently forgetting that the warming temperatures are the bearers of another big annoyance: allergies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. Those allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, can cause all sorts of pesky symptoms, like itching, sneezing, sinus pain, and more. As we inch closer to spring, here’s what you should know about what the upcoming months mean for your allergies — and how to keep the downsides to a minimum in 2018.

When is “peak” allergy season?

We throw around the term “allergy season” a lot, but the reality is there isn’t one season when everyone’s allergies collectively flare up. “‘Peak’ allergy season varies for each individual depending on what they may be allergic to and the region of the country they live in,” Sindhura Bandi  an allergist and immunologist at Rush University medical center tells Allure. 

Seasonal allergies generally hit in waves. Bandi explains that tree pollen season usually goes from late February/early March through May; followed by grass season, which holds on until July; then August and the fall bring about mold spores (which take their toll in humid climates) and ragweed, which holds on until approximately November.

That said, none of that is an exact science. “In areas that do not experience frosty conditions, certain allergens may persist for longer seasons,” Bandi says. “In addition, with the more temperate climates we have been seeing nationally, certain pollen seasons are lasting for longer than usual.” And as if that weren’t enough, there are also perennial allergens that persist year-round, such as dust, pet dander, and some types of mold.

 

What’s the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies?

Darria Long Gillespie a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and head of clinical strategy at Sharecare, explains that seasonal allergies are only present during peak pollination times of specific allergens (like the aforementioned trees, grass, mold, and ragweed). Perennial allergies are not only present all the time, but they’re also caused by different allergens, with the exception of mold, which can cause both seasonal and perennial allergies. Instead of plants, Long Gillespie says that year-round allergies are typically triggered by insects (like dust mites and cockroaches) and animals (cats and dogs).

But that’s where the differences stop. “Whatever the trigger of the allergy, the body’s response is the same,” Long Gillespie says. “It recognizes these things as something ‘harmful’ and mounts an immune response, which leads to the classic allergy symptoms, [like] stuffy/runny nose and sneezing, sore or itchy throat, and itchy/red eyes.”

How can I prevent or minimize both kinds of allergy symptoms?

The CDC explains that you can’t prevent allergies, but you can prevent allergic reactions. Doing so requires you to take control of your environment and minimizing those triggers as best you can.

If you have seasonal allergies, keep tabs on the daily pollen count, which you can get from most weather forecasting service. When it’s high, try to stay inside as much as you can. Both Bandi and Long Gillespie also recommend keeping your windows and doors (to your home and car) closed to minimize your exposure to pollen.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you can avoid going outside at all during peak pollination times, but there are still things you can do to help prevent reactions when you do. “When you come in from the outdoors, change your clothes and take a shower to rinse pollen out of your hair and off your skin,” Long Gillespie says. If you can’t shower right away, she recommends at least doing so before you go to bed. And if you have pets, wipe them down after they come inside, too.

Dandelion seeds in the morning sunlight blowing away across a fresh green background

Speaking of pets, a HEPA filter, as well as regular vacuuming, can also help ward against pet dander. It’s also worth noting that, Bandi says, cat dander can linger in a home up to six months. In the event that you used to have a cat — or have simply done a bit of cat-sitting, for that matter — and are still experiencing allergy symptoms, you may need to do a deep clean and replace your filters.

If possible, Long Gillespie suggests keeping the carpeting in your home to a minimum, as it attracts both pollen and dust. And if dust is your big allergy trigger, Bandi recommends keeping your home’s humidity below 50 percent (you can test the level with a hygrometer) and using dust mite-proof pillows and mattress covers. “In addition, frequent vacuuming and using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in the home can reduce dust mite exposure,” Bandi says.

Long Gillespie also says that nasal rinses, such as neti pots, can clear pollen out of your nose before the allergy symptoms start. If you go that route, be sure to closely follow the FDA’S safety recommendations. Whatever your specific trigger, Long Gillespie also recommends cleaning all air, duct, and air conditioner filters before allergy season begins each year.

How can I fight them once they show up?

“Of course, prevent[ing] complete exposure is often not possible, and your allergist can recommend various medical therapies to reduce the symptoms,” Bandi says. “Allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can be helpful in desensitizing your body to the allergens in which you are allergic.”

Long Gillespie also recommends options like antihistamines (which come in many forms to block your body’s immune overreaction to the trigger, steroid nose sprays to fight congestion and post-nasal drip, and decongestants in oral or nasal spray form.

If you’re not sure what exactly is causing your symptoms, Bandi suggests making an appointment with an allergist who can help you identify the trigger. And even if you do have a good idea of what allergen is causing you to sniffle and sneeze, a specialist can guide you on the best path for warding off and treating the symptoms, so you can get back to enjoying the season

 

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This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.

Article source: https://www.allure.com/story/when-is-peak-allergy-season-how-to-prevent-symptoms

 

The A – Z of The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Ulcerative Colitis

Article Source: http://managedigestion.com/z-ultimate-cheat-sheet-ulcerative-colitis/

 

What is it?

The word ulcerative colitis literary means inflammatory disease of the large intestine, characterized by the formation of the ulcers. Thus ulcerative colitis belongs to the group of disorders called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS).

 

 

What causes it?

Perhaps no one would be able to say the exact cause of the disease. Most probably it is a combination of three things: environmental factors, genetics, and autoimmunity. Genetics means that there could be family history, and the person may inherit the collection of weak genes that increase the risk of disease. However, the disease has to be triggered by some changes in environment like some stressful condition, infection, food poisoning. Genetics and environment triggers cause the immune system to behave in wrong way, leading to the disease. The local immune system in the intestine starts to overreact to the infections or microbes thus leading to severe local inflammation, that may further erode to give rise to ulcers.

 

What are the symptoms?

It would start with the symptoms related to the disease of the large intestine, that is chronic diarrhea that would last for weeks or even months, and most treatments would not help enough. Blood in stool is common due to ulceration of large intestine or area near the rectum. Other symptoms would be abdominal cramping, pain in the rectum (pain would come and go), weight loss, chills, abdominal bloating, dehydration. If left untreated, many other symptoms of malnutrition may occur.

The disease is characterized by the flares and remissions, that is times when you may feel utterly sick, followed by the intervals of relative calm.

 

What are the tests?

There is the whole array of tests available. The doctor would often start with stool and blood test, not only to diagnose ulcerative colitis, but also to rule out other similar diseases. Colonoscopy may help to visualize the colon, and if needed take samples of tissue for histological examination. Abdominal CT scan, MRI, X-ray.

What needs to be done?

It is a condition that must be treated under the supervision of a doctor as it needs more than symptomatic care. The doctor would often use anti-inflammatory therapy by using amino-salicylates, corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants. Some cases may require surgical treatment.

 

What should I eat?

When it comes to diet, avoid high-fat food. Drink lots of liquids including coconut water, have more of ripe banana, ripe papaya, boiled apple, cabbage, carrots, and curd. Avoid (during flares) dairy products, high fiber food, alcohol, cut down on caffeine and carbonated beverages.

What can prevent it?

Change lifestyle, make significant changes to diet, avoid stressful conditions.

What are the dangers?

It increases the risk of some health conditions. Bones become weaker due to osteoporosis, in teenagers it may decrease the growth and development, even adults may lose too much body weight. It may cause disease of bile duct called sclerosing cholangitis, rare but life-threatening complication like megacolon due to trapping of gasses (increased risk of rupture), and finally, it increases the risk of bowel cancer.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

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Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410

 

 

 

Common signs you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder

Article Source: https://www.metro.us/body-and-mind/health/thyroid-disorder-symptoms

 

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Here’s how to know if you have a thyroid problem and how to get treatment

 

Here’s how to know if something might be out of whack with your thyroid. Photo: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but it’s less likely that you know what it is or how it actually functions in the body. The two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck just below the adam’s apple, secretes hormones that help regulate important systems in the body, including temperature, metabolism, heart rate, weight and menstruation.

When too much or too little of these hormones are produced, several bodily functions can get out of whack. For National Thyroid Awareness Month, we asked endocrinologist Dr. Byan McIver to talk us through common thyroid disorders and signs that you might be suffering from them.

Who is likely to develop a thyroid disorder? 

 According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, although women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from it than men. Typically, it affects women in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties who have a family history of thyroid problems — although the disorder isn’t strictly genetic. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid

McIver likens the thyroid to a “conductor” for the body’s symptoms.

“When there’s too much thyroid hormone, it’s like that conductor has gone a little crazy and gone too fast, and the whole music goes into dissonance,” he explains, describing the condition of hypothyroidism. This can cause rapid heartbeat, restlessness and anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory and focus, hot flashes, an overactive bowel — symptoms akin to how you feel if you’ve had too much coffee, according to McIver. Over time, it can lead to hair loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and in severe cases, injuries to internal organs.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid

The most common thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. This can cause patients to feel tired and low energy or depressed, have a slower heart rate, be more susceptible to the cold, experience constipation and rapid weight gain. It can also interfere with the menstrual cycle, which can lead to issues with infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might consider getting your thyroid tested to see if that’s the culprit, says McIver.

Nodular thyroid disease 

Talk about a lump in your throat. Nodules are a swelling on or inside the thyroid, and they’re actually very common — you’ll find them in half of women over the age of 50, McIver explains. Depending on the size of the nodule, you can feel it or even see it protruding from your neck. As it grows, it can lead you to develop a raspy voice or have difficulty swallowing. Luckily, the majority are benign, but on occasion they are cancerous.

How do you diagnose and treat thyroid conditions? 

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid, or if you suspect you might have a nodule, let your doctor know, McIver recommends. They can refer you to an endocrinologist who can diagnose the condition by testing the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) through a simple blood test.

In the case of hypothyroidism, the endocrinologist can treat it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If it’s hyperthyroidism, there are medications to help slow down the thyroid, or removal of the thyroid through radioactive iodine or surgery.

In the case of a potential nodule, a doctor can confirm it with an ultrasound and then biopsy it, or use genetic testing to determine the cancer. Thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, McIver explains.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

 

Foods That Help Fight Cervical Cancer

Article Source: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/foods-that-help-fight-cervical-cancer.html

 

Cervical cancer (cancer of the female cervix) is the second most common type of cancer in women, behind only breast cancer. Its most common cause is contraction of high-risk forms of the human papilloma virus – more commonly known as HPV.

Most women will contract some form of HPV at least once in their lives. The body’s immune system typically takes care of the virus before it evolves any further. However, sometimes the infection does not go away. If the virus stays active in the body for a significant period of time the risk of cervical cancer increases.

 

Cervical Cancer

How to Protect Yourself from HPV

Most doctors recommend that women protect their bodies from HPV in these three ways:

  1. Get screened with a Pap test periodically.
  2. Get an HPV test periodically (age 30 or older).
  3. Get the HPV vaccine (ages 9-26).

Lifestyle Changes That Support HPV/Cervical Cancer Prevention

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from cervical cancer is to get regular screenings like those listed above. However, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk altogether. One of which involves your diet.

Foods That Fight Cervical Cancer

Low levels of folic acid (a type of vitamin B) in the body can increase your likelihood of developing HPV; so, it is very important to eat a nourishing, vitamin-rich diet. Folic acid is crucial to the development of healthy DNA and can protect against precancerous changes in the cervix. In fact, dosages of 5 to 10 milligrams of folic acid daily can actually reverse mildly abnormal Pap smears.

Folic acid is most commonly found in dark, leafy greens like spinach and asparagus, citrus fruits, lentils and beans. Most researchers recommend developing a diet that is rich in B vitamins: particularly folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B12.

Here are some foods that do this best!

Foods That Fight Cervical Cancer (1)

Cruciferous vegetables like:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

Antioxidant-rich fruits and teas like:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Papaya
  • Green tea

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds

Here are some foods that you should avoid.

Animal products that cause inflammation:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products

Refined sugars and highly-processed carbohydrates.

  • Processed grains
  • Pre-made boxed foods
  • Bleached flour

Many of these cancer-preventing nutrients found in the list of foods above can also be found in the form of dietary supplements. Do not substitute real foods for supplements as too much of a good thing may become toxic in your body.

Eat well, stay healthy!

Health Notes: Cervical Cancer Awareness

Article Source: http://www.laduenews.com/business/columns/health-notes-cervical-cancer-awareness/article_16981bdf-def0-52d5-97fe-2dc26e88e0cb.html

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With Cervical Health Awareness Month upon us come January, the topic is important, especially in light of the sobering statistics.

“Incidence of cervical cancer has not changed in the last 10 years, with 12,820 new cases estimated in 2017, accounting for 4,210 deaths,” says Dr. Lindsay Kuroki, a Washington University gynecologic oncologist, quoting figures from the American Cancer Society.

Ladue News spoke with Kuroki about cervical health, preventive steps and treatments.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer every three years in women ages 21 to 29 years, and either Pap test screening every three years alone or every five years with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in women ages 30 to 65 years. Yet many women still have a Pap test every year as part of an annual well-woman exam. What are your thoughts and recommendations regarding Pap test frequency?

The fundamental goal of cervical cancer screening is to prevent morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. Most Pap abnormalities are related to HPV infections that go away when recognized by women’s immune systems. There’s no benefit to identifying these. Only persistent infections cause cancer. The HPV test is better at detecting these changes so it doesn’t need to be done as often.

Many women and providers want to be safe, so they screen too often. Over-screening leads to harms, such as anxiety, cervical injury and disrupted relationships after diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection. The USPSTF recommendations are a good balance between benefits and harms.

There continues to be controversy surrounding the HPV vaccine, and some parents who are concerned about side effects decline this vaccine for their adolescent children. What would you advise these parents regarding the benefits versus risks of the vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have reviewed the safety information for the prophylactic HPV vaccines and have determined that they are safe and nearly 99 percent effective if administered before first sex, since almost everyone contracts HPV. Serious side effects are rare and similar to other vaccines. Commonly reported symptoms include injection-site reactions such as brief soreness, redness or swelling, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and headache.

Like all vaccines, the HPV vaccine is monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure it remains safe and effective. As a gynecologic oncologist, I advise parents that the HPV vaccine is a rare opportunity to protect their child against HPV-related cancers. HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women, and the HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers – about 28,000 – from occurring.

For women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer, new treatments have been introduced. What are the most effective new treatments, and how much have they affected cervical cancer survival?

New treatments are exciting, but prevention through vaccination and screening remains the best strategy. The first targeted biologic agent, bevacizumab, plus chemotherapy, helps women with advanced cervical cancer live four months longer. However, considerations of adverse effects, cost and duration of therapy are important to discuss. More recently, immunotherapy research holds promise as a new cervical cancer therapy option.

Are there signs of cervical cancer that women should recognize and see a physician about?

Unfortunately, women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers typically have no symptoms, which is why adherence to cervical cancer screening is so important. However, those who present with more advanced disease may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, odor, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, or difficulty urinating or having bowel movements.

What’s the most important thing you think our readers should know about cervical cancer?

There are things you can do to minimize your risk of cervical cancer.

Obtain the HPV vaccination at the appropriate age, ideally before exposure to HPV. In 2016, Missouri ranked near the bottom for adolescent HPV vaccination. Only 51.6 percent of adolescents age 13 to 17 years in Missouri received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, and 35.8 percent were up-to-date with the recommended vaccination series of three shots.

Also, avoid cigarette smoking, which is a risk factor for cervical cancer, keep up to date with your Pap tests and don’t ignore abnormal Pap results.