Hepatitis C: Do You Know the Risks?
Hepatitis C is contagious and is spread blood to blood. Hepatitis C is sometimes called a “silent epidemic” because it affects so many people but usually has no symptoms. It is not uncommon for someone to have hepatitis C for decades before being diagnosed. Most people with hepatitis C are unable to fight the disease through their immune systems and need medical treatment to be cured. Left undiagnosed and untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and the need for liver transplant.
There are many risk factors for hepatitis C. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) added a recommendation that all baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C because they are one of the largest populations affected by the disease.
The CDC now recommends hepatitis C blood testing for the following people:
- “Baby Boomers” (people born between 1945 and 1965)
- Anyone who has ever injected illegal drugs — even once
- Anyone who has received blood transfusions or solid organ transplants prior to 1992
- Anyone who recevied clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
- People who have ever received long-term hemodialysis for kidney failure
- Healthcare workers after accidental needle sticks
- People with HIV
- People with lab results showing abnormal liver enzyme tests
- Anyone who was born to a mother with hepatitis C
Medications now used to treat people with hepatitis C are curing up to 99% of those with the disease. American Liver Foundation urges you to speak to your family doctor or any other medical professional to schedule your hepatitis C blood test today. For more information about diagnosis, treatment and support, visit the www.hepc123.org or call our HelpLine at 1-800-GO-LIVER.
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