What is Gastroenterology?
Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine dealing with the study of disorders affecting the stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines.
What is Hepatology?
Hepatology is the branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the liver, gallbladder and biliary tree. Common diseases involve gallstones; alcohol induced liver damage, as well as infection with Hepatitis A, B and C.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal Cancer is one of the five most common cancers in the United States today. Approximately 140,000 individuals were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2012, and approximately 50,000 of those individuals died from colorectal cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer-related deaths in America. However, it is preventable. Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy are the examinations that we commonly use on all Americans in order to assess and decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is approximately 1 in 20, and colorectal cancer is the second-most common cancer in Hispanic men.
What are the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
Colon cancer develops over time, and symptoms may not be detected until late in the disease's process. However, weight loss, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, or rectal bleeding, or even finding blood in the stool or on the toilet paper may be an indication that something is going on in the colon, and it should be evaluated by your physician immediately.
What is Upper Endoscopy?
Upper endoscopy is the examination performed under anesthesia, and it allows the physician to examine the esophagus, the stomach, and the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This examination is frequently used in the evaluation of acid reflux, GERD, abdominal pain, chronic nausea or vomiting, or even weight loss. It's an important examination, particularly in those individuals who have a history of ulcers, may think they have an ulcer, or chronic longstanding acid reflux.
What is Viral Hepatitis?
Viral hepatitis is liver disease that's caused by Hepatitis A, B, or C virus. These three viruses are the most common in the United States in causing viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis A is generally self-limiting, and found frequently in children. Hepatitis B is transmitted sexually as well as through the blood, and Hepatitis C is transmitted only through blood. Thus, needle sticks, IV drug use, any interaction involving in the exchange of blood can transmit Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted through the blood, and can cause chronic liver disease. If the liver disease and inflammation is severe enough, over time patients develop cirrhosis, an end-stage liver disease. Approximately 150 million people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C. However, there is a cure, and treatments are available to cure patients of Hepatitis C. Approximately 15-20% of patients, however, will clear the virus on their own. Thus, any positive antibody, or positive screening for Hepatitis C should be evaluated by your physician. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control recommend that any American born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened at least one time in their life for Hepatitis C. Their age does not matter; however, as treatment is available for a number of people who have contracted Hepatitis C, and thus it's important to ask your physician if you are a candidate for Hepatitis C treatment in an attempt to cure the infection.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is an extremely common problem in the United States. Oftentimes, it can lead to significant trouble with swallowing, abdominal pain, pain after eating, a sour stomach, or a bad taste in the back of your mouth. Some patients complain of hoarseness, or changes in their voice, chronic cough, or even sleeping problems. For that reason, any of these symptoms should be evaluated by your physician. Acid reflux can easily be evaluated with an upper endoscopy, which may show signs of inflammation in the lower esophagus. Over time, these signs of inflammation can develop into a condition called Barrett's esophagus, which in a very small percentage of patients can develop into esophageal cancer. Simple changes in lifestyle management can improve these symptoms, however, and at times the use of medication would be necessary, such as the H2 antagonists such as Zantac, Pepcid, or proton inhibitors such as Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec, or Zegerid. These medications can significantly improve one's symptoms, and thus their quality of life. However, because of the risk of Barrett’s, the symptoms should be discussed with your physician and possibly evaluated by a gastroenterologist.