The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has named the month of May Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 in particular as national Hepatitis Testing Day. It’s information everyone should pay close attention to; because chronic hepatitis B and C can cause serious damage to your liver. But your local Any Lab Test Now location wants baby boomers, in particular, to mark their calendars on Hepatitis Testing Day for a very simple reason — you are most at risk.
Baby Boomers and Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person. Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults, according to the CDC. Most of them are unaware that they are infected. The reason baby boomers have such high rates isn’t completely understood, but health officials have three main theories:
- Health officials believe boomers are at an increased risk because they became infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted.
- Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood before widespread screening of the blood supply was implemented. Screening virtually eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992.
- Sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs can also spread hepatitis C.
Many people will never know how they were infected, just like many never realize that they are living with a dangerous contagious disease.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and is now the leading cause of liver cancer. The good news is, it can be cured! But you have to be aware that you have the disease and the sooner you know, the better your chances of recovery. Here’s what to look for:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
But here’s the thing: many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or even feeling sick. That’s why testing is so critical.
Any Lab Test Now Offers Hepatitis Testing
You can find out where you stand by coming in to an Any Lab Test Now location and asking for one of our quick and easy hepatitis screening tests. There are several options to choose from.
The Hepatitis Panel screens for all variations of the hepatitis virus; that’s A, B, and C. There are three different viruses that cause hepatitis A, B, or C and this one test will screen for all three.
The Hepatitis C Test will screen only for the one virus. If your results come back positive for the virus, the time to act is now. The sooner you and your physician begin treatment, the better.
Treatment and Beyond
Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases. Researchers are developing newer medications, and hopefully bringing the cost of treatment down. So, if you were born between 1945 and 1965, grab a friend and make a date to visit Any Lab Test Now on May 19 for National Hepatitis Testing Day. It may not sound like the time of your life, but it could add more time to your life!