Hepatitis C diagnoses are on the rise—especially among Baby Boomers. Here are the 7 things everyone, and Baby Boomers in particular, need to know about this disease.
- Baby Boomers are at the highest risk: Three in four people diagnosed with Hep C is a Baby Boomer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspects this is because transmission of the disease was highest during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.
- Hepatitis C is a liver disease: According to the CDC, it results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. Some people who are infected are able to get rid of the virus, but most develop a long-term infection.
- Most people don’t know they are infected: Symptoms are not always obvious. Many people can go decades without getting sick. Discovery of the disease is often a result of other routine testing.
- It’s spread though contact with blood from a contaminated person: Prior to 1992, infected blood was present in medical blood supplies. Additionally, shared needles, accidental sticks with a contaminated needle, or other equipment used to inject drugs may have contributed to the spread of the disease.
- Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems: In fact, it has surpassed HIV/AIDS in mortality. It’s the leading cause of liver cancer and the biggest reason for liver transplants.
- It’s getting easier to treat: Some people (about 15-25%) are able to clear themselves of the virus. Medical professionals don’t yet understand why this happens to some and not others, but even so, new treatments are available and the disease is much more manageable than in the past.
- Get screened sooner rather than later: As with so many diseases, early detection is key to more favorable outcomes.
Hepatitis C can happen to anyone, but Baby Boomers are especially at risk. In fact, you may have the disease and not even know it. Luckily, awareness is on the rise, and increasing numbers of people are getting screened. Check out this link for more information: http://www.hepchope.com/. Get educated, get screened, and stay ahead of Hep C.