Get tested for Hepatitis C | Dr. Petter
By DR. LINDA PETTER
Auburn Reporter Columnist
August 29, 2012 · Updated 5:50 PM
A new recommendation released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) last week urges adults to get tested for Hepatitis C. Specifically, adults who were born between the years of 1945 and 1965 should be screened.
Why? This age group accounts for 75 percent of Hepatitis C cases diagnosis in the United States. This condition can be life threatening. Approximately 15,000 people in the United States die each year from Hepatitis C.
Early on, most people infected with Hepatitis C don't have symptoms or even realize that something is wrong. Symptoms may not develop until decades later, and consist of: fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, poor appetite, nausea, flu-like symptoms and tenderness around the liver.
This virus is spread by coming in contact with contaminated blood, such as sexual contact, shared needles, or if a person received a blood transfusion prior to 1992. Additionally, others at risk include: healthcare workers, emergency medical personal, if you have injected illicit drugs, having HIV, if you have received a tattoo or body piercing in unclean/non-sterile conditions.
Left undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, Hepatitis C can progress to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver and cancer. However, if Hepatitis C is diagnosed early, medication treatment with anti-virals can cure 75 percent of adults.
Please see you doctor and have a simple blood test to screen for Hepatitis C. This could save your life.
Dr. Linda Petter of Auburn is a weekly feature on KOMO TV/News Radio in Seattle (1000 AM and 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and on a weekday during the morning and evening commute. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. She is a consumer healthcare advocate, and her books, "Healthcare on a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense", are available on Amazon.com. Visit her website, www.DocForAll.com, or call her office at 253-568-0841.Contact Auburn Reporter Columnist Dr. Linda Petter at www.DocForAll.com or 253-568-0841.