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Hepatitis: Everything You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about hepatitis for World Hepatitis Day banner with man looking off

Did you know about 300,000 Floridians are infected with Hepatitis C? Of those, about 210,000 people will develop chronic liver disease. That’s enough people to fill the University of Florida football stadium more than twice.
World Hepatitis Day, July 28th, brings awareness to a disease that infects an estimated 325 million people worldwide, most of whom don’t even know they have it.
Hepatitis can be a silent killer, but over 95 percent of people with hepatitis C can now be completely cured within two to three months.
We spoke with Dr. Tenley Noone, a practicing Family Medicine physician at SIMED, to learn more about what hepatitis is, how to avoid it and how it’s treated.

Your Guide to Hepatitis for World Hepatitis Day Infographic with Dr. Tenley Noone

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Sometimes hepatitis only lasts a few weeks and the liver can recover; however, long-term inflammation can lead to mild scarring (fibrosis), advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and sometimes cancer.
There are five main types of viruses known to cause hepatitis identified by the letters: A, B, C, D and E. While all cause liver disease, they cause different degrees of illness and liver damage.
Hepatitis B and C lead to chronic diseases including liver cancer.
Hepatitis A and B are the most common vaccine-preventable diseases that affect travelers who visit areas where these viruses are highly prevalent including Africa, India, Central and South America, the Middle East and some parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis?

“A hepatitis infection can occur with limited or no symptoms or may be very mild and appear similar to a ‘tummy bug’ with nausea and vomiting and abdominal pain. However, sometimes an infection will cause people to develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine and fatigue,” Dr. Noone shared.

How do you get Hepatitis?

People get hepatitis viruses A and E most commonly by ingesting contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A can also be spread sexually.
Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of direct infection from body fluids like blood, saliva or semen, typically through unprotected sex, from contaminated needles including tattoos, acupuncture or piercings and from blood transfusions before 1992.
Hepatitis B can pass from a mother to a baby at birth and between family members through contact of bodily fluids from sharing personal items like razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers or from sharing drinks and food.
People can also get Hepatitis A and B when traveling to places where the virus is highly prevalent.

How can you avoid Hepatitis?

“Get tested and get vaccinated!” Dr. Noone exclaimed.
Practice preventative measures to protect yourself from developing the condition, and practice safe sex.
“If you get tattoos, acupuncture or piercings, make sure the employees use clean and sterile needles. You should also avoid sharing needles, toothbrushes, razors or other personal items with someone who has a hepatitis infection,” Dr. Noone warned.

What should you do if you think you have Hepatitis?

“If you think you have hepatitis or want to be screened, please talk with your doctor,” Dr. Noone advised.
Doctors screen for hepatitis through blood tests.
Blood donation centers will also screen for hepatitis A, B and C when you donate blood, and the health department will also provide testing.

How is Hepatitis treated?

Most people with hepatitis A and E get well on their own after a few days to a few weeks; however, a doctor might advise abstaining from alcohol and avoiding certain medication.
Hepatitis B and C are treated with drugs given through liver specialists.
“We can now cure over 95 percent of hepatitis C infections, but we don’t yet have a cure for hepatitis B,” Dr. Noone explained.
Getting vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B is the best option.

How prevalent is Hepatitis?

While about 300,000 Floridians have hepatitis C, most of them are unaware of their infection. According to the Florida Department of Health, about 70 percent of those infected will develop chronic liver disease with an increased risk for liver failure.
A World Health Organization report indicates over one million people in the United States are living with chronic HBV (hepatitis B) infections.

What is it like to live with Hepatitis?

“Living with hepatitis can be challenging. You need to keep yourself healthy, exercise regularly, keep a balanced diet, see your doctor often and get regular exams,” Dr. Noone explained.
Doctors will most likely recommend people with hepatitis avoid or restrict alcohol intake and avoid acetaminophen and other drugs, herbs or supplements that can harm the liver.
People with hepatitis should inform sexual partners about their status, practice safe sex and avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors, needles, syringes, nail files, clippers, scissors or any object that may come into contact with their blood or body fluids.
Dr. Noone also recommends they avoid sharing food that has been in their mouth and pre-chewing food for babies.
In addition to physical symptoms, hepatitis often causes emotional stress, so Dr. Noone suggests you keep an open dialogue with loved ones and your medical team if you have hepatitis.

How has the treatment of Hepatitis changed over time?

While hepatitis B chronic infections still can’t be cured, they can be treated.
Very recently, new drugs have emerged for hepatitis C, and we can now cure most cases of it.
“This is a very exciting time in medicine for hepatitis C because only 25 years ago these infected patients were largely thought to be incurable,” Dr. Noone stated.

How difficult or easy is it to treat Hepatitis?

Acute or short-lived infections are usually easy to treat, but some patients can get very sick and need hospitalization, and a small percentage of patients do not survive.
Chronic infections with hepatitis B cannot yet be cured, but they can be treated by drugs and sometimes by a liver transplant.
“We do not yet understand why some infections become chronic and why some people get very sick and others do not,” Dr. Noone confided.
Most chronic hepatitis C infections are now treated with 4 to 8 weeks of medication, but some patients still cannot be cured and might require a liver transplant.
“Identifying the patients we need to treat is the first step in the eradication of certain hepatitis viruses,” Dr. Noone explained.

If you believe you or someone you know has hepatitis, contact your primary care doctor today.

Dr. Noone sees patients as a primary care physician at SIMED’s Ocala and McIntosh locations. For an appointment specifically with Dr. Noone, in Ocala, call 352-401-7575, or in McIntosh, call 352-224-2525 or request an appointment through SIMEDHealth.com.

To schedule an appointment with a SIMED primary care physician, call 352-224-2225 for our Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland, Lady Lake and McIntosh locations.

Dr. Noone's New Year's Weight Loss Resolution Tips!

SIMED's Primary Care Dr. Noone's New Year's Weight Loss Resolution Tips!
Some of the top New Years resolutions of 2015 were to lose weight, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to get fit and healthy. The percentage of people who achieve their new year’s resolution is only 8% (statisticbrain.com); this leaves a lot of room for improvement! SIMED's Primary Care Tenley Noone, MD gives us some pointers on how to succeed at achevieng our New Year's goals for 2016.
 
Dr. Noone's simple rules to help you for weight loss. Avoid all the 'white' foods such as pastas, potatoes, rice and breads. This rule works because carbohydrates are directly metabolized to fat. Instead include lots of protein and raw and fresh fruits and veggies. Raw fruits and veggies have more fiber can help negate some carbohydrates. I recommend that when you need to, have a small amount of pasta over a bed of fresh spinach to keep your carbohydrates low and get the fiber which will help keep you fuller longer. Another tip is to remember it takes roughly 10 calories to maintain one pound of body weight, so if you're hoping to weigh 150lbs., that means taking in 1500 calories per day. This can help you avoid pitfalls like sodas, sweet tea, and that piece of cake with its 300 calories that is only feeding your 3 extra pounds.
Feed Your Brain!  Enjoying life to fullest isn't possible without a happy healthy brain, and the best way to help keep your brain help is to feed it. Reading is a great way to start improving memory, challenge yourself to tackle a book a month. Moderate cardiovascular exercise is the best way to increase blood flow to your brain, challenge yourself to try something you haven't done before such as yoga. Yoga can be a great way to get both your blood flowing and your mental focus sharpened, not to mention improve your balance, length your muscles and improve circulation and can help achieve the third most popular new years resolution of staying fit and healthy.
Let's Go Streaking!  No, not that kind of streaking...fitness streaking!  A new trend in fitness called “streaking” works well here too. Streaking refers to going on a workout 'streak', seeing how many days in a row you can work-out. As long as you vary the intensity and type of workout this can be a very healthy, challenging goal and a good mental work-out as well. Keys to success here are finding a good group of workout buddies for motivation and keeping your mental drive strong. Lots of groups are available online and locally, just look for anyone involved in running clubs, walking clubs, or workout classes. Some tricks to help keep you going are to visualize where you'll be one year from now, or to commit to a distant goal like a 5K race, a surf vacation, a mountain hike, or yoga retreat, and probably the most important is surrounding yourself with motivating pictures, quotes, and any excuse-kicking material you enjoy.
Breathe In.  Breathe Out.  Another weight loss tool to incorporate in your program is lung strengthening and conditioning. Your lungs are your weight loss wonder. We metabolize lost weight into carbon dioxide which we exhale in our lungs, so try to include an exercise that gives your lungs and work, like deep breathing or running, and try to avoid things like smoking which is damaging to your best weight loss organ.
And finally please recruit your family physician at SIMED Primary Care to help guide you to your goals as they can be a very value resource of information and motivation.
 
To schedule an appointment with a SIMED Primary Care provider please contact (352) 224-2225 or to request an appointment online please click here.     

Are You At Risk For Diabetes? Get Checked For Diabetes Alert Day

Are You At Risk For Diabetes?  Get Checked For Diabetes Alert Day | SIMED Health
The American Diabetes Association Alert Day is the fourth Tuesday in March this year (March 24th, 2015). This is a one-day "wake-up call" asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Tests for developing Type 2 Diabetes. These tests can also be conducted at our SIMED Primary Care and at our First Care Urgent Care offices.  

SIMED's Tenley Noone, MD shares some valuable insight on the different types of diabetes and how each one can affect the human body in different ways.
 

There are different types of Diabetes, but all involve how your body metabolizes sugar.  When you eat sugar your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin allows your body to get the sugar out of the blood and into the tissues that need it, like nerves, muscles, and your brain. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin you feel starved for energy and may start craving sugar.
There are several types of Diabetes and each has something to do with insulin and blood glucose, but they’re not all the same and the treatment for each can be different.
  • Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder in which the pancreas stops producing insulin. It used to be called juvenile diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas can produce insulin. The insulin is either not enough for the amount of energy your body is trying to use, or your body can’t use it effectively and needs help.
  • Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), women with gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 20 years.
  • Prediabetes is when your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Are you at risk?  The main risk factors for developing diabetes include:
  • Obesity (a body-mass-index over 30): if you have been steadily gaining weight this is the biggest risk factor developing diabetes, accounting for approximately a 50 percent of the increase in diabetes in men and 100 percent in women. Recently a major study showed a 100-fold increased risk of incident diabetes over 14 years in people whose BMI was over 35 compared to a normal BMI.
  • Family history: compared with individuals without a family history of type 2 diabetes, individuals with a family history in any first degree relative have a two to three-fold increased risk of developing diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes is higher (five- to six fold) in those with both a maternal and paternal history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Ethnic heritage: certain ethnicities are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These include African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiian/Pacific Island Americans and Asian Americans.
  • Fat distribution: ever noticed some people’s body shapes? The distribution of excess fat tissue is another important determinant of the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurred most in people with larger waist circumferences. This is called central or abdominal obesity.
  • Smoking: many people don’t realize there is a link, but the longer you smoke (and the more cigarettes you smoke) increases your risk is of developing diabetes. The good news is this risk is diminished with each year you continue to not smoke.
  • Sleep duration: another less known risk factor is the quantity and quality of sleep you get may increase your risk of developing Diabetes.
So do you have Diabetes?
 
Come into SIMED First Care or your SIMED healthcare provider's office and get tested for diabetes today! It’s a simple blood test and can have a big impact on your long term health. Despite the test result, and especially if have any of the risk factors listed above please talk to your doctor about lowering your risk of diabetes through your lifestyle factors such as physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, body weight, and sleep duration. Improving these lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus, and your doctor is always there to help!