New York: People infected with the hepatitis C virus are already known to be at risk for liver damage, and results of a new study now shows that the infection may also spell heart trouble.
“People infected with hepatitis C are already followed regularly for signs of liver disease, but our findings suggest clinicians who care for them should also assess their overall cardiac risk profile regularly,” said study author Wendy Post, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
Although HIV and hepatitis C infections often occur together and people infected with HIV are already known to have an elevated risk for heart disease, the new study offers strong evidence that hepatitis C can spark cardiovascular damage independent of HIV.
“We have strong reason to believe that infection with hepatitis C fuels cardiovascular disease, independent of HIV and sets the stage for subsequent cardiovascular trouble,” study principal investigator Eric Seaberg, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, noted.
“We believe our findings are relevant to anyone infected with hepatitis C regardless of HIV status,” Seaberg pointed out.
The study involved 994 men 40 to 70-years old without overt heart disease.
Of the 994,613 were infected with HIV, 70 were infected with both viruses and 17 were only infected with hepatitis C.
Those infected with hepatitis C, regardless of HIV status, had, on average, 30 percent more disease-fueling calcified plaque in their arteries, the main driver of heart attack and stroke risk.
People infected with either HIV or hepatitis C, on average, had 42 percent more non-calcified fatty buildup, a type of plaque believed to confer the greatest cardiac risk.
The study appeared in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
New York, September 20, 2017: People living with HIV who adhere to antiretroviral therapy, but smoke tobacco cigarettes are more likely to die from lung cancer than from AIDS, a study led by an Indian-origin researcher has revealed.
The findings showed that overall people with HIV who take antiviral medicines, but who also smoke are six to 13 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV/AIDS, depending on the intensity of smoking and their sex.
“Smoking and HIV are a particularly bad combination when it comes to lung cancer,” said lead author Krishna Reddy, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
“Lung cancer is now one of the leading killers of people with HIV, but most of these deaths can be prevented,” added Rochelle Walensky, Professor at Harvard Medical School.
Among men who continued to be heavy smokers, an estimated 29 percent would die of lung cancer by age 80, as would 23 per cent of moderate smokers and 19 per cent of light smokers.
For women who continued to be heavy smokers, an estimated 29 percent would die of lung cancer by age 80, as would 21 per cent of moderate smokers and 17 per cent of light smokers.
“The data tell us that now is the time for action: smoking cessation programmes should be integrated into HIV care just like antiviral therapy,” Reddy said in the paper published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
However, among those who managed to quit smoking at age 40, only about six per cent die of lung cancer.
“Quitting smoking is one of the most important things that people with HIV can do to improve their health and live longer,” suggested Travis Baggett, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School.
London, Sep 16, 2017: Viral hepatitis with 1.34 million deaths globally has surpassed all chronic infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to a study by Global Burden of Disease.
The study reveals that in 2016, the total deaths caused by viral hepatitis, including liver cancer, acute cases, cirrhosis, hepatitis A, E, B, C and D account for 1.34 million globally, exceeding tuberculosis (1.2 million), HIV/AIDS (1 million) and malaria (719,000).
These staggering death rates occurred despite recent advances in hepatitis C medications that can cure most infections within three months and the availability of highly-effective vaccinations for hepatitis B.
“It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that the Global Burden of Disease Report found that deaths related to viral hepatitis have surpassed HIV, TB and malaria” said Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance — a not-for profit organisation based in London.
“This is largely due to a historic lack of political prioritisation coupled with an absent global funding mechanism,” Gore added, in the paper published in the journal the Lancet.
Further, viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers which include heart disease, road accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.
If this trend has to be reversed, immediate action must be taken at both a regional and national level, said the report, while suggesting measures such as scaling up testing and diagnosis.
Viral hepatitis is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus and only 5 per cent of people living with the disease are aware of their conditions there are only few noticeable symptoms.
As a result, many people are either misdiagnosed or do not come forward for testing, increasing the chance of infecting others and missing the opportunity to access life-saving treatment.
Reducing hepatitis related deaths by 65 per cent by 2030 is a key component of the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Strategy.
The strategy, which was adopted by 194 governments, sets out a list of key targets, which, if achieved, will eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. (IANS)
The most common transmission route of Hepatitis in India is from mother to child. It has been said in a recent study that 3-5 % of Indian population is the carrier for Hepatitis B virus infection, the cause of viral hepatitis.
Some common symptoms of Hepatitis are low-grade fever, body ache, lethargy, anorexia and joint pain
In Western countries, Hepatitis is increasingly recognized as a cause of chronic liver damage
New Delhi, July 28, 2017: Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections. Viral Hepatitis is a group of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common among these are Hepatitis A, B, C and E. Rarely other viruses like dengue, Chikungunya, herpes, and H1N1 can affect the liver. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they usually have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently.
Dr. Vinit Shah, Consultant Hepatologist, BGS Global Hospitals, low-grade fever, body ache, lethargy, anorexia and joint pain are some common symptoms. This is commonly called prodromal symptoms as it precedes the phase of liver attack by a period ranging from 1-2 weeks, mentioned ANI report.
Hepatitis B virus infection is an extremely important cause of viral hepatitis, 3-5 % of Indian population is the carrier for hepatitis B infection, and some may be negative with virus damaging liver that is Occult hepatitis B and picking up viral DNA in blood or liver tissue. The most common route of virus transmission in India is from mother to a child.
Mostly there are chances that the virus can remain dormant in the body without any liver damage- asymptomatic carrier and is incidentally diagnosed during health checkups or pre operative checkups before any surgery. But, in some cases it can cause acute liver failure, chronic damage to the liver -chronic hepatitis, progression to chronic liver damage- cirrhosis or liver cancer –HCC in patients. The virus is known to have a tendency of suddenly returning to active multiplication from dormancy and causing severe liver damage (reactivation of hepatitis B).
The high-risk groups are- pregnant women, health care professionals, sex workers or prior to proposed organ transplantation or chemotherapy administration and screening of them is of paramount importance. Once a patient is diagnosed with hepatitis, he gets referred to a specialized liver care team, further investigations involve testing the replication state of virus and extent of the liver damage so that return of virus to active multiplication and worsening chronic liver damage, liver cancer development are not missed.
The preventive measures involves vaccination of the high risk groups especially, screening pregnant ladies and managing their infection properly during pregnancy and breast feeding with appropriate oral medications, proper delivery of the baby with immediate dual vaccination (vaccine plus hepatitis B immunoglobulin) to the child, screening blood and immunological products, safe needle and syringe practices, active screening of family members of infected patients and vaccination of those who are negative. Treatment involves early identification of a subset of people with liver damage and treating with oral antiviral medications and regularly checking them.
Hepatitis C virus has same modes of transmission as hepatitis B and can similarly cause chronic liver damage, liver cirrhosis, decompensation or liver cancer. No vaccine is available for hepatitis C so identifying infected patients and aggressively treating them to achieve complete viral response (SVR) is the only way to prevent progression to liver cancer and decompensation. With an advent of anti-viral oral medications (DAA’s) treating, hepatitis C is very easy, cost effective and highly successful now. But this should be done as soon as hepatitis C patient is identified and then referring him/her to a liver specialist.
Hepatitis A and E are the commonly transmitted hepatotropic viruses transmitted due to poor hygiene, contaminated food and drinking water, poor sanitation that may lead to fecal-oral transmission. Pediatric age group (0-16 yrs old) is at risk for hepatitis A infection, in some cases, liver damage may be very severe (acute liver failure) leading to loss of liver function requiring liver transplantation.
Hepatitis E virus infection also has a similar way of transmission and pregnant ladies constitute the high-risk group for this viral infection and it is the most common cause of the disease during pregnancy.
In Western countries, it is increasingly recognized as a cause of chronic liver damage especially in post solid organ transplant recipients and as a result of consumption of contaminated pork, which is regarded as an important source of transmission. Prevention is again by ensuring proper hygiene and sanitation and vaccination of higher risk groups is in the research stage.
– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08
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