Wednesday, September 8, 2010

HHS releases new plan to prevent and treat viral hepatitis

(NaturalNews) Viral hepatitis remains a public health challenge in the United States. Approximately 3.5-5.3 million persons are living with the condition, and millions more are at risk for infection. Hepatitis, which is largely preventable, is the leading cause of liver cancer. Without appropriate care, 1 in 4 persons with chronic hepatitis will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

In January 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on hepatitis, explaining the barriers to hepatitis prevention and treatment. In response to this, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan -- Combating the Silent Epidemic: US Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. The Plan is meant to result in:

- more people being aware that they have the condition

- a reduction in new cases

- a complete elimination of mother to child transmission of Hepatitis B

Although viral hepatitis is a leading cause of infectious death in the U.S., many people are unaware they have the condition because often time they don't feel the symptoms, or the symptoms are there, but just feel like the flu.

Here's a quick overview of viral hepatitis:

Hepatitis A - found in the feces of infected persons. Hepatitis A spreads from one person to another by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This can happen when people do not wash their hands after using the toilet and then touch other people's food. Typically, milder symptoms than hepatitis B or C. Illness from hepatitis A is usually brief, and infection with the virus does not lead to chronic liver disease or liver cancer.

Hepatitis B - found in blood and certain body fluids of infected persons. Hepatitis B spreads when a person who is not immune comes in contact with blood or body fluid from an infected person. Hepatitis B is spread by having sex with an infected person without a condom, sharing needles during injected drug use, needle sticks or sharps, exposures in a health care setting, or from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal birth. Exposure to blood in any situation can be a risk for transmission. There are usually no symptoms until there are serious liver complications. When symptoms do appear, they may include high fever, jaundice and abdominal pain chronic hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis and/or liver cancer.

Hepatitis C - also found in blood and certain body fluids of infected persons. Hepatitis C spreads when a person who is not immune comes in contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. Hepatitis C is spread through sharing needles during injected drug use, needle sticks or sharps, exposures in a health care setting, through organ transplants that have not been screened, or less commonly from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal birth. It is possible to get hepatitis C from sex, but it is uncommon. Infection with the hepatitis C virus is the number one reason for liver transplant in the U.S. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.

There is a simple blood test to check for the Hepatitis virus.

Hopefully, with the guidance of this plan and the collaboration of policy figures, stake holders, and health care practitioners we can reduce the transmission of this silent epidemic.

To read the action plan please see

Data source: The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Risk Factor Survey (
Data source: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Health care reform: Revolution or evolution - What we can do to control our destiny

(NaturalNews) Health care reform is considered by many Americans to be the most important domestic issue in America, but is it really? Indeed it is important, but is it more important than the loss of our democracy and the loss of the voice of the people? Is it more important than the pollution, poor quality food, and high levels of stress that are causing much of the epidemic of chronic diseases that now affects 50% of all Americans? Is it more important than fighting the two wars we've been engaged for such a long time? And at a much higher level, is it more important than solving the global issues of preventable disease and hunger?

We have partially awakened from our trance and are starting to address some of these issues. We're screaming about our lost rights but are feeling helpless about creating change because we don't have faith that we can make a difference as individuals. We have forgotten that the only way change ever occurs is with an idea and someone to represent it. We must remember that if it is worthy, others eventually will see and follow.

Is there hope? Is it too late? There are very worrisome signs that our government is so far out of the hands of "we the people" that it no longer does much good to "write to our Congresspeople!" In fact, even voting in many respects no longer offers much choice; does it matter in any substantive way whether you vote Democratic or Republican? Is there that much, or even any for that matter, difference between the two parties as far as corruption is concerned? Has either party come up with a solution to our health care issues that is sensible? Have we become involved with a colossal struggle characterized by politics so polarized that we have lost sight of what we're trying to accomplish. Why is it that every single Democrat votes one way and every single Republican votes the other on health care reform? Is anyone in either political party thinking for themselves? Is following political party lines more important than working together to make America a better place? Are we doomed to crumble under the weight of our own corruption as have so many empires of the past?

Perhaps Gandhi had the answer when it comes to effecting social transformation. Our natural instincts are to fight against what we believe is wrong. However, where has this gotten us? Into fights! Sometimes there is no other option, but generally, even when this works, it causes change through fear and dominance rather than inspiration. How about we behave by becoming the change we want to see? That was what Gandhi proposed. There's no fighting involved in this approach. But, it may be more difficult to change our behavior rather than do what comes so naturally to us; fighting back. Change through inspiration tends to be lasting because it comes from within and is what we choose. Change through fear and dominance may impose change, but it is not likely to be lasting because it is not our choice. It leads to revolution, not evolution.

What if we took action at the local level and engaged in community programs based on good things such as developing programs that support a healthy lifestyle? What if we began participating in local government to create policies we believe in? What if we created educational programs that teach the golden rule first, and then how to build community? What if we learned to listen and care about everyone in our community? What if we spent our dollars to achieve these goals and refused to spend them on what we don't believe in? What would happen if we took this kind of responsibility?

The answer is obvious! We'd control our destiny. We'd take back democracy without the firing of a single shot. We would become leaders rather than followers and would elect only those Congresspeople who would represent us completely. We would stay in constant contact with our elected officials and participate in all governmental decisions. We'd eliminate any corporate or private business that did not offer service as the first priority because we would not purchase their goods or services. We'd be teaching our children how to get along with one another and live in community. We'd have health care that we could afford and would encourage wellness rather than react for the most part only after we get sick. In short, we'd be healthier, much happier, and make decisions that benefit our community. We'd have meaningful purpose in our lives. We'd also have far more financial resources to allocate to whatever projects we believed in.

The choice is ours: reacting to corruption with outrage, or being the change we want to see. Do you support revolution or evolution?