Baby boomers are getting old and many are now paying the price for their wild youth. According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2007, the number of Americans dying from hepatitis C and related diseases almost doubled. Baby boomers are at great risk of having hepatitis C without even knowing it. The government agency is urgently recommending them to get the test and, if necessary, the treatment before it is too late.
Hepatitis C is a viral blood-transmitted disease affecting 3.2 million Americans. Two million of them are baby boomers. Doctors believe that hundreds of thousands of people were infected in the 1970s and ’80s, during the baby boomers “wild times.” The most common way of getting infected by hepatitis C virus is through intravenous drug use with dirty needles, from infected mother, high risk sexual behavior, and blood transfusion (the blood was not screened for the virus before 1992).
Most people infected by hepatitis C have no symptoms and the virus is not causing any damage to their health. But, some people develop serious liver damage which can end up in liver cirrhosis and death.
Hepatitis C was first recognized in 1989. It develops very slowly ” “ sometimes it can take decades for the virus to cause liver damage. Since people of baby boomer generation have not been tested as young adults, almost 800,000 of them might be infected and in need of treatment, according to the CDC estimate.
Do not wait to develop symptoms in order to find out if you are infected with hepatitis C. Some people do not have any symptoms and their liver is slowly degrading. While acute hepatitis C does not have any cure, there are two medicines available for chronic hepatitis C. A simple blood test will tell your doctor if you are infected, and he will recommend the right treatment. One of the most important parts of the treatment is to avoid anything that is damaging to already threatened liver, such as alcohol. Keep in mind that, if infected, you can be infectious to others even if you have no symptoms.
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