Are you at risk for Hepatitis C? What to know

by | May 16, 2019 | Life & Style

HCV is called “the silent disease” because many with the virus show no symptoms. Therefore, testing — often a simple blood test — is important for higher risk populations, especially baby boomers. (Courtesy photo)

Approximately 2.5 million people in the U.S. are living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and as many as 75 percent of people with the disease don’t know they’re infected. Untreated, HCV can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer. While these numbers may sound startling, there’s good news, too.

Thanks to the recent development of direct-acting antiviral medications, treatment of HCV has evolved significantly to be shorter in duration, cause fewer side effects and have cure rates higher than 90 percent for those treated.

To encourage testing, treatment and wellness, the American Liver Foundation (ALF), the nation’s largest patient advocacy organization for people living with liver disease, and Lincoln Financial Group are offering the following tips:

Get Tested
HCV is called “the silent disease” because many with the virus show no symptoms. Therefore, testing — often a simple blood test — is important for higher risk populations, especially baby boomers. May, which is Hepatitis Awareness Month, is a great time to schedule it.

The CDC recommends that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested, as this portion of the population is five times more likely to have HCV than other adults. Other higher-risk populations include current or former drug users, recipients of blood transfusions or organ transplants before July 1992, hemodialysis patients, those who have gotten tattoos or body piercings with nonsterile equipment, workers who have come in contact with infected blood at their jobs, and those with HIV.

Get Treated, Get Cured
If you test positive, your healthcare provider will suggest which medication treatment options are right for you based on your particular circumstances. Today’s treatments typically involve eight to 12 weeks of oral medication, and are well tolerated with few side effects.

“With continued improvements in detection and treatment, understanding your risk for HCV can save your life,” says Tom Nealon, president and CEO of ALF. “We encourage those high-risk populations to get tested, so they can get treated and get cured.”

Pursue Liver Health and Wellness
Once you’ve received treatment, stay on the path to wellness. To protect your physical health, keep all your medical and lab appointments, see your physicians regularly, eat healthfully, pursue hobbies, exercise and avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. It can be common to face some emotional and mental stress as a result of the disease itself, as well as the stigma associated with it. Getting the support you need to overcome these challenges helps the healing process. For resources, visit liverfoundation.org.

Pursue Financial Well-Being
After treatment, it’s important to recognize and overcome the financial challenges created by the disease. If you were denied life insurance in the past, consider speaking with a financial advisor to determine how to get affordable coverage. Some insurance providers have incorporated the most up to date HCV information into their underwriting approach, allowing for expanded eligibility and lower costs of coverage.

“Those with Hepatitis C are now more empowered to secure their financial futures,” says Dr. John Greene, vice president and chief medical director at Lincoln Financial Group.

HCV goes undetected and untreated all too often. But knowing the facts can protect your physical, mental and financial well-being. Source: State Point

For more stories like this subscribe in print or online.

0 Comments

Related News

Homeowner goes on a gardening adventure

Homeowner goes on a gardening adventure

After a few years of growing the typical Texas flowers; pan­sies in the winter, impatiens in the summer in the normal front flowerbeds, homeowner Kori Hendrix realized she wanted more variety and more gardens at her Wylie home. There was ample opportuni­ty to make...

read more
Artisan, inventor fuse marriage, creativity

Artisan, inventor fuse marriage, creativity

Sue Darte blames her daugh­ter and a jewelry making class she took nine years ago for ig­niting a passion for the art of fusing glass. “A retail glass company had a Groupon coupon and I brought my daughter-in-law with me to make two pieces of jewelry,” Sue said. In...

read more
Make Mother’s Day bloom

Make Mother’s Day bloom

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re fortunate enough to still have your mom or grandmother in your life why not plan a special trip to honor them this year? We all know flowers and lunch are nice but how about escaping town to visit a place where...

read more
Waste in the water

Waste in the water

Pictures of trash on beaches, a whale found with a belly full of garbage and turtles with plastic straws up their nose are no laugh­ing matter. They are all just a tiny snapshot of reality today. The impact of the world’s overuse of plastic is causing hav­oc on the...

read more
The Heard Museum brings nature, people together

The Heard Museum brings nature, people together

Just a short drive away, every day is Earth Day at the Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern McKinney where 289 acres of flora and fauna are ded­icated to conservation, education and preservation efforts. In the 54 years since the Heard opened, this natural...

read more
Best of balloting now open

Best of balloting now open

Shop local. Eat local. Drink local. Now cast your ballot and Vote local. Voting for the annual Best of Wylie contest is now open and will continue through the end of the month. Whether you’ve lived in the Princeton area one year or 10 years, we know you’ve cultivated...

read more
Try a new way to travel

Try a new way to travel

Despite the COVID-19 pan­demic, families are still finding ways to make the most of un­usual schedules to plan a get­away. With more flexible work and school arrangements, many families are embracing the idea of a “flexcation,” an emerging travel trend where families...

read more
Food trucks cater to Princeton

Food trucks cater to Princeton

The area of Bridgefarmer Blvd and Hwy. 380 has turned into a hot dining spot the past couple years as food trucks have set up to offer a variety of culinary choices. Offered are Cajun, Japanese and Central American foods, and hamburgers, prepared in specially-equipped...

read more