Hepatitis C – Booming with the Baby Boomers

3 in 4 people with Hepatitis C = Baby Boomers

What do Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler, actor Ken Wantanabe, and country singer, Naomi Judd, have in common? All are baby boomers and all have been treated for Hepatitis C.

If you have an image in your mind of someone infected with Hepatitis C, it might be far removed from that of a celeb. The reality is, according to a May, 2017 CDC report, in just over just five years, the number of new hepatitis C infections reported has nearly tripled, reaching a 15-year high. The highest overall number of cases, were among young people 20-29, with injection drug use as the primary cause of infection. However, the majority (three-quarters) of the 3.5 million Americans already living with hepatitis C are baby boomers, born from 1945 to 1965, who are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in any other age group and are at much greater risk for death from the virus.

What is Hepatitis?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver.

The difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C-
Hep A, B and C are diseases caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and affect the liver differently. There are vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A and B; however, there is not one for Hepatitis C. If a person has had one type of viral hepatitis in the past, it is still possible to get the other types.

What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person i.e., injection drug use, blood or organ transfusion and outbreaks in healthcare facilities (very rare). Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.”

Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection.

Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis C virus remains in a person’s body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure and even liver cancer.

Who Should Get Tested?

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965 = BABY BOOMER
  • Injected or snorted drugs, even once
  • Received a tattoo outside of a licensed setting
  • Had sexual contact with someone who is hepatitis C positive
  • Received blood products before 1992 or outside the U.S.
  • Have ever been on hemodialysis
  • Are a veteran, especially of the Vietnam war
  • Are a healthcare worker or first responder

Contact a DeRosa Medical provider today to get tested for Hepatitis C. A simple blood test can safe your life!

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