One of the most straightforward risk factors for a certain sickness is the year you were born, and knowing this might help you decide if you should undergo screening for the ailment.
It has been found that a large number of persons born before a certain year were disproportionately exposed to a viral virus before it was discovered and that this infection if left untreated, can have severe and even fatal repercussions.
If you’re concerned about your health and want to know if you need a blood test and how this ailment manifests itself without obvious symptoms, read on.
The elderly population of the United States is particularly vulnerable to this virus’s effects
Hepatitis is a term for liver inflammation, usually due to a virus. Hepatitis B and C are the most frequent kinds of hepatitis in the United States, out of the five varieties of hepatitis (A, B, C, D, and E).
Hepatitis C (HCV) disproportionately affects the elderly since they were infected prior to the disease’s discovery and understanding, the CDC says. In fact, a 2012 CDC analysis found that those born within a certain 20-year window are responsible for 27 percent of the hepatitis C patient population and 73 percent of HCV-related mortality. According to the CDC, many of these people are ignorant of their infection and are therefore not seeking treatment.
Everyone born before this year should get their blood checked
It is especially important for baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, to get tested for hepatitis C at least once, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Considering that HCV is a “silent” disease that can go undetected for decades before producing major health problems, this is of paramount importance.
The CDC’s worries have been shared by other health groups. The Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology recommends that those born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for hepatitis C. (APICE). More than 15,000 Americans per year lose their lives to hepatitis C-related illnesses; the vast majority are baby boomers.
If you have HIV, have ever injected or inhaled drugs (even once, or a long time ago), work in the medical field and are constantly exposed to blood, have a tattoo, did receive a blood transfusion before 1992, were treated for a blood clotting disorder prior 1987, or have undergone hemodialysis, you may be at an increased risk for HCV.
Hepatitis can lead to a lot of other serious health problems
Professionals warn that HCV can lead to a number of potentially fatal illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “chronic hepatitis C can result in significant, even life-threatening health conditions like cirrhosis and liver cancer.” Chronic HCV sufferers may go for years without experiencing any symptoms, so the emergence of symptoms may indicate a more advanced stage of the disease.
Dark urine, weakness, fever, joint pain, tarry stools, a loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and jaundice are all possible symptoms of hepatitis C. Many of these symptoms are probably caused by things other than HCV, but it’s still vital to talk to your doctor about them.
Your life may depend on getting tested for hepatitis C
Testing is crucial in the battle against HCV, and it’s especially vital for baby boomers. The APICE stresses the importance of testing for hepatitis C, saying that a simple blood test can indicate infection status. The group claims that if all people born between 1945 and 1965 were tested once, it would avert more than 120,000 deaths.