What Baby Boomers Should Know About Hep C
It seems strange to think that you could be carrying a serious disease in your body for years without ever knowing, but that can sometimes be the case with those who are living with hepatitis C. And there is a large, seemingly unlikely group who has unusually high incidences of this disease. According to the CDC, 3 in 4 people affected with hepatitis C are baby boomers, men and women who were born between 1945 and 1965.
How Do You Get Hep C?
Hepatitis C is often portrayed as a disease primarily contracted between people sharing dirty needles, injection drug use, or high-risk sexual practices. Although the source of the disease is not always totally clear, a study recently published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal contributes the high rate of hepatitis C in baby boomers to incidences of medical and blood procedures, organ transplants, and blood transfusions that were conducted prior to heavy restrictions and screening processes being put in place, as opposed to contracting it through high-risk behaviors. While some can carry the disease and even fully recover from it without ever knowing, most people affected by hepatitis C do experience symptoms. It is associated with chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and is now the leading cause for liver transplants in the United States.
What Should I Do?
So how should doctors approach this disease among the baby boomer crowd? The CDC is recommending that doctors run a blood test to determine if their patients have the disease antibody in their system. If it is present, further tests are available to understand the extent of the disease and course of treatment that needs to be carried out. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System recommend an electronic medical record alert for all patients who fall within that age group. This automatic alert eliminates doctors trying to determine whether a patient is affected or not, and performs the test across the board for everyone within the baby boomer age group.
How Can TDDC Help?
The physicians at TDDC are specially trained to diagnose and treat hepatitis. If you have any concerns, find a location near you and make an appointment today!