Geisinger Health System
Dr. Marc Williams describes abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The aorta is the major artery that leaves the heart and distributes the blood to the body. The abdominal aorta is located between the diaphragm and the pelvis, and can sometimes be coming affected by arterial scelosis (hardening of the arteries), and that weakens the wall of the artery. When that occurs, because of the high pressure in the aorta, the aorta can begin to balloon out. That balloon is what we refer to as an aneurysm.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) causes thinning of the artery walls, which can eventually rupture, which can result in a very serious medical condition. AAA can be difficult to detect on physical examination, and patient often do not show any symptoms.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Individuals with a family history of AAA are significantly more likely to develop the disease.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that, in addition to genetic factors, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can have a range of environmental causes. The leading environmental cause of AAA is cigarette smoking. High blood pressure is one of a range of factors associated with a hardening of the arteries that can also lead to AAA. Interestingly, diabetes is associated with a lower incidence of AAA.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that hepatitis refers to chronic inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is the most common form of hepatitis, and is sometimes known as infectious hepatitis. It has been associated with outbreaks in the past. Hepatitis B is caused by exposure to blood borne products, such as blood transfusions. Immunizations for hepatitis A and B are common. Hepatitis C, which is also blood borne, is frequently transmitted with hepatitis B is a more chronic form of the disease and can result in an extremely serious medical condition.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that while susceptibility to hepatitis C may not be related to genetics, genetic factors may affect the body's ability to deal with the virus. A gene known as IL28 has been shown to harbor variants that are associated with responses to treatment.
Dr. Marc Williams explains that drugs used to boos the immune system are used to treat hepatitis C. Certain genetic variants in the IL28 gene may be able to predict who is most likely to respond to treatment and can also help to determine whether a patient should additionally receive antiretroviral medications.