Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Time to Get Checked!

If you or someone you love was born between 1945 and 1965, it's time to consider getting screened for Hepatitis C. The Hepatitis C virus causes an infection that directly affects the liver. When left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, or the need for a liver transplant. In the vast majority of patients, once infected, the virus persists indefinitely, but quietly, potentially leading to severe liver damage before it is finally detected. There is no vaccine to protect anyone from becoming infected. As the disease is not associated with symptoms until advanced, it is possible to unknowingly pass the virus to others. The only way to know if you've been infected is to get screened by your primary care physician

Spread through blood and other bodily fluids, Hepatitis C is thought to have a high rate of occurrence in Baby Boomers, who grew up during a time when infection control practices were not standardized and blood products may not have been screened thoroughly.

Risk factors for Hepatitis C include:
  • Being part of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1945 and 1965)
  • Having received a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before 1992
  • Having received a blood product to treat clotting problems prior to 1987
  • Being on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Having ever injected illicit drugs (even just once)
The good news is that most people diagnosed with Hepatitis C are cured after treatment. Talk to a primary care physician about your risk, appropriate testing and ways to protect yourself and your family members in the future. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit www.mygbmcdoctor.com/ to find one who is right for you.

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