Posts for: April, 2017
Hepatitis C diagnoses are on the rise—especially among Baby Boomers. Here are the 7 things everyone, and Baby Boomers in particular, need to know about this disease.
- Baby Boomers are at the highest risk: Three in four people diagnosed with Hep C is a Baby Boomer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspects this is because transmission of the disease was highest during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.
- Hepatitis C is a liver disease: According to the CDC, it results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. Some people who are infected are able to get rid of the virus, but most develop a long-term infection.
- Most people don’t know they are infected: Symptoms are not always obvious. Many people can go decades without getting sick. Discovery of the disease is often a result of other routine testing.
- It’s spread though contact with blood from a contaminated person: Prior to 1992, infected blood was present in medical blood supplies. Additionally, shared needles, accidental sticks with a contaminated needle, or other equipment used to inject drugs may have contributed to the spread of the disease.
- Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems: In fact, it has surpassed HIV/AIDS in mortality. It’s the leading cause of liver cancer and the biggest reason for liver transplants.
- It’s getting easier to treat: Some people (about 15-25%) are able to clear themselves of the virus. Medical professionals don’t yet understand why this happens to some and not others, but even so, new treatments are available and the disease is much more manageable than in the past.
- Get screened sooner rather than later: As with so many diseases, early detection is key to more favorable outcomes.
Hepatitis C can happen to anyone, but Baby Boomers are especially at risk. In fact, you may have the disease and not even know it. Luckily, awareness is on the rise, and increasing numbers of people are getting screened. Check out this link for more information: http://www.hepchope.com/. Get educated, get screened, and stay ahead of Hep C.
Find out if your heartburn could actually be due to gastroesophageal reflux disease.
A lot of people describe having occasional bouts of heartburn or acid reflux. You may notice it after eating particular foods. You may experience it if you eat right before bedtime. If you are dealing with these symptoms a couple times a week or if they are affecting your quality of life then it may be time to turn to one of our gastroenterologists to learn more.
What is GERD?
Every time you swallow food your stomach produces acid to aid in digestion. In a healthy gastrointestinal system, a valve opens to allow food and liquid to pass from the esophagus to your stomach. In those with GERD, the valve may not close fully or may open too often, which can cause stomach acids to travel back up into the esophagus. If this happens regularly, the lining of the esophagus can become irritated and even damaged.
What are the symptoms?
While everyone will probably experience heartburn at some point during their lifetime, if you have GERD you will likely deal with frequent or persistent heartburn. Everybody is different when it comes to their symptoms. Other frequent symptoms of GERD include:
- Sore throat
- Problems swallowing
- Chronic bad breath
- A sour or bitter taste in the mouth
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
It isn’t always easy to know when it’s time to visit the specialists at GI Associates. Of course, if you’ve been dealing with heartburn that occurs two or more times during the week, if your heartburn is getting worse, if you have trouble swallowing or if heartburn wakes you up at night then it’s important that you get your symptoms evaluated.
How is GERD treated?
The goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and you’re your esophagus a chance to heal. You may need to make be lifestyle changes such as changing what and when you eat, sleep positioning and potentially weight loss if obesity is a factor.
Certain medications may also be prescribed to help you manage your symptoms and to help repair the damage done to the esophagus. Surgery is only recommended when all other treatment options have failed.
Are you dealing with nagging, gnawing heartburn that just doesn’t seem to go away? If so, then it’s time you turned to the experts at GI Associates in Wausau, Stevens Point, Woodruff, Eagle River, Rhinelander and Antigo, WI, to get the answers and treatment you need.