Friday, March 2, 2012

Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers

Hepatitis C has made headlines recently, following the release of a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that, among other things, revealed that one of every 33 baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965) is living with hep C. Furthermore, research reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that three-fourths of the approximately 15,000 people who died from hep C in 2007 were between the ages of 45 and 64.

These findings and more were reported in an article in The Wall Street Journal, Hepatitis C deaths up, baby boomers most at risk. Some of the notable items in the story include the following:
"Deaths from liver-destroying hepatitis C are on the rise... "

"About 3.2 million Americans are estimated to have chronic hepatitis C, but at least half of them may not know it."

"In fact, in 2007 there were 15,000 deaths related to hepatitis C, higher than previous estimates — and surpassing the nearly 13,000 deaths caused by the better-known AIDS virus."

The CDC is deliberating "... whether to change testing guidelines to recommend that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get a one-time screening."
I hope hep C screening becomes more widely adopted. By the time I experienced symptoms caused by hep C, my only option was a liver transplant. Discovering the disease early and getting treatment using one of the promising new, more effective drug regimens could save many lives.

Photo by Vangelis Thomaidis