Hepatitis C, or Hep C as it is commonly called, is a condition caused by a virus. It affects the liver, causing inflammation. When it is not treated, it can lead to some serious complications, such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Hep C can be in the body with no symptoms for years where it silently damages the liver over time. Because there are often no symptoms, a test is the only way your older relative may know they have it.
Baby Boomers at Higher Risk for Hep C
People in the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1945-1965, are at an increased risk for having Hep C. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that they are at a 5 times greater risk than people from other generations.
Scientists don’t know exactly why people who are Baby Boomers are at a greater risk for Hep C. Transmission of the disease was at its peak between the 1960s and 1980s. It is spread when a healthy person comes in contact with the blood of someone who has the virus. One way your aging relative may have been infected was through a medical procedure. The protocol for using and cleaning medical equipment was different in the past than it is today. Blood and blood products used in transfusions were not screened the way they are today either.
Regardless of whether your aging relative believes they may have been exposed to Hep C, experts recommend they be tested for the virus to be certain.
Symptoms of Hep C
When Hep C goes untreated and has been in the body for a long time, it is considered chronic hepatitis. Symptoms don’t usually show up until the liver has been damaged. Symptoms of Hep C include:
- Bleeding and bruising easily.
- Lack of appetite.
- Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes.
- Urine that is dark in color.
- Weight loss.
- Fluid that collects in the abdomen.
- Swollen legs.
- Blood vessels in the skin that are reminiscent of spiders.
If your aging relative has not been tested for Hep C, an elderly care provider can help them to schedule an appointment for the test. An elderly care provider can also drive them to the appointment. If the senior does have Hep C, elderly care can assist in treatment of the disease by reminding them to take the medication used to treat the virus.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Houston, TX, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.
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