September 18, 2014

Medina
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Hepatitis C: Baby Boomers Should Get Tested

Suzanne Kanner, RN, B.S.N.

Suzanne Kanner, RN, B.S.N.

While anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of adults infected are baby boomers, people born from 1945 through 1965.

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Some people are able to clear, or get rid of, the virus, but most develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. In fact, Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.

The reason that baby boomers have the highest rates of Hepatitis C is not completely understood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most baby boomers probably become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest. Since chronic Hepatitis C can go unnoticed for up to several decades, baby boomers could be living with an infection that occurred many years ago.

Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Many people may have been infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs. Since often times Hepatitis C has no symptoms, many people do not know how or when they were infected.

Other Hepatitis C Facts

Baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C.

The longer people live with Hepatitis C, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease.

Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.

Treatments are available that can eliminate the virus from the body and prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

 

For more information, talk to a healthcare professional or contact the Medina County Health Department at, 330-723-9688 (option1) for Health Services or visit us at www.medinahealth.org.

Hepatitis C: Baby Boomers Should Get Tested