It is a disease that affects millions of Americans, but most don't know they even have it. Hepatitis C is also known as the silent epidemic. Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease that causes serious health problems.
"It can really damage the liver cells terribly,â?? said Dr. Randy Tobler Chief Medical Officer at Scotland County Hospital. â??It causes liver damage and eventually that can result in liver failure; and in some people it can cause cirrhosis of the liver, which results sometimes sadly in death."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, has launched a campaign to educate Americans about the disease and why Baby Boomers should get tested.
Although this disease affects 3.2 million Americans it's â??Baby Boomersâ?? who are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. "We think that the biggest risk for people in the baby boomers age range for having Hepatitis C is they were in that window when blood transfusions were being given before Hepatitis C was being screened for in the blood,â?? Dr. Tobler said.
Dr. Tobler said the most common way people contract the disease is through blood contact with someone who is infected with Hepatitis C, but he said that is not the only way.
â??That can happen through the skin; that can happen through blood transfusion â?¦ maybe if you happen to use a toothbrush, or share a razor with someone who has been infected, so we advise people against doing that, but mainly it's just blood,â?? Dr. Tobler said.
The CDC recommends being tested for Hepatitis C.
"Itâ??s important especially if you were born between 1945 and 1965 if you ever in your life used IV drugs, or were in contact with anyone, or it can be occasionally transmitted sexually it would be wise to get a screening test,â?? Dr. Tobler said.
Doctor Tobler said the key is diagnosing the disease early.