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Hep-C Baby Boomer Deaths On The Rise

Hep-C Baby Boomer Deaths On The Rise

 

Baby Boomers face another threat  to their health beside the demise of Medicare. One in 33, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control data, is living with Hepatitis C and does not know it. Hepatitis C is a silent disease that can take a few decades to manifest its symptoms.  This is why many who are suffering from the disease do not know it.   Particularly at risk are for those born between 1945 and 1965.

Because the disease is blood borne, baby boomers who have never used or shared needles do not consider themselves at risk. But the medical profession is trying alert the public that this disease could be the result of a one time youthful experiment long since forgotten.  Or it could be present as a result of a blood transfusion.

Before 1992, the nation’s blood supply was not screened. If you happened to have had a transfusion before that time, it is possible the blood you received was contaminated, as in the case of Arthur Ashe.  Ashe died of HIV, not  Hepatitis C, but it resulted from a blood transfusion.  Then consider that there were 15,000 deaths in 2007 related to Hepatitis C, as to opposed 13,000 deaths caused by the AIDS virus and the impact becomes more clear.

Some people are unable to remember exactly what happened 20 years ago, thus the Federal Government has begun discussions about instituting organized testing of this demographic as a preventative measure with the possibility of saving 82,000 lives.

Stanford University confirmed the CDC’s conclusions and went a step further.  They determined that the new triple therapy is “.. . cheaper than a transplant costing well over $100,000.”  The stated, “not everyone with hepatitis C will go on to suffer serious liver damage. For those with mild disease, … some gene testing to predict who might really need the costlier triple therapy rather than the older drugs would be a good next step.”

There are now two new drugs that offer more hope. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ teleprevir and Merck’s boceprevir are pricey but clinical trials indicate they cut treatment times over the drugs that are currently on the market and they promise improved results.

Doctors have begun talking to baby boomers about this when they come in on separate concerns. Some states have launched programs targeting boomers. Anyone affected by the disease or interested in further education or support are encouraged to contact the Hep C connection.

 

Related coverage:

Did This Doctor Give Her Patients Hepatitis C?

HIV Rates of Poor US Areas Rival Those of Developing Nations

 

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Photo from Ting Ting Huang via flickr

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57 comments

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1:22AM PST on Mar 4, 2012

Thanks for the article.

7:29AM PST on Feb 27, 2012

at one time it was believed it could spread via body fluids, so many were left with that impression, too.............

1:08PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

I have friends of the baby boomer generation who have contracted Hep C, one from IV drug use back in the 60's but who did not find it out until he was in his 60's, and one from a blood transfusion he recieved after a near fatal car accident before blood was screened for it. As someone who has worked in healthcare in the emergency end of it for many years, I was amazed at the number of people I took care of who have Hep C. It is quite rampant and spans all ages.

11:54AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Yet another profit making scheme for Big Pharma. All these new expensive drugs come out but no cures. Yes Jane I was thinking the same thing all these years of trying to find a cure for cancer and all this money given to these cancer foundations and yet no cures. It does seem to me after all this time that they really don't want a cure because it would hurt Big Pharma more then anything.

Big Pharma will not keep the needed pills coming for the small children that have cancer because it works but there is no money in it. This is when I think the government should get involved, government does so much of the research through their universities then sell the product to Big Pharma who makes the real big money on it. It makes you want to see more socialistic alternatives in this country. This Super Capitalism we have now helps only the few who can pay for it and now they can advertise these new drugs on TV and for some reason the people believe that because something is new that it is better, not true.
The testing system is so bad that I will not use a drug that hasn't been on the market for at least 5 years that is about how long it takes to find out how much these drugs are killing people.

10:57AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

British stole and cleared my ancestral lands and burned tribal children, women and men alive, as well as shot them, as so that the profits from tobacco could make them wealthy. Tobacco is for ceremonial use to communicate with Spirit. The buying an selling of tobacco is evil all the way around, and causes suffering and death. Please save money for good things, and never give your money away to these tobacco barons who damage life, Spirit and Earth.

8:10AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

That would be my baby brother. whom I dearly love and miss beyond measure!

8:09AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

This particular article really hits home for me as my baby (11 months younger than me) just passed away on July 23rd of this past year, at the young age of 53 from Hep C either by a dirty needle or a unclean tattoo artist's equipment. This disease is called "The Stealth Disease" because you will go symptom free for years and then one day 20, 30 years later the signs present themselves and then there is no cure. All Dr.s at that point can do is attempt to prolong your life with a two therapy system. One a form of Chemo and one a pill called ribafin. What this disease does to you is destroy your liver by consuming it to the point of a mass of scar tissue which does not allow the body to filter toxins within the body, thus the same results as cirrhosis of the liver. Not a pretty way to die and if the uprise is occuring in the baby boomer populace then that tells me one thing.....That the 60's was a time of sex, drugs and rock& roll, that has proved fatal

4:20AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Noted

12:54AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Thanks for the article.

12:33AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Noted, thanks.

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