BALTIMORE BEACON — OCTOBER 2013
Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health
Boomers should be tested for hepatitis C By Dr. Stacey Rizza Dear Mayo Clinic: I recently heard that the CDC now recommends baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C. Is that true? If so, why is testing necessary? Wouldn’t I have symptoms if I had the disease? Answer: It is true that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for hepatitis C infection. Americans born during that time are five times more likely than other people to be infected. Most people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms, so testing for this serious infection is very important. Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver. In about 60 to 80 percent of adults infected by hepatitis C, the virus lingers in the body. But in most cases, it’s impossible to know it’s there without testing for it. Eventually, as people age, the hepatitis C virus can cause damage to the liver. Many of those with hepatitis C don’t know they have the infection until liver damage shows up, often decades after the initial infection.
How infection occurs The hepatitis C virus is spread from contact with contaminated blood. The reason for the higher hepatitis C infection rate
in baby boomers is not entirely clear. It may be linked to the fact that before 1992, blood-screening tests for hepatitis were not as reliable as they are now. So it was possible to get the virus through a blood transfusion or organ transplant without knowing it. Some people may have become infected with hepatitis C by sharing contaminated needles when injecting drugs. This can happen even if a person comes in contact with an infected needle only once. In some mild cases of hepatitis C, treatment may not be necessary because the risk of future liver damage is very low. If so, follow-up blood tests and monitoring for liver problems may be all that’s needed.
several decades, hepatitis C infection can lead to scarring of the liver tissues, a condition known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis makes it hard for the liver to work properly. In time, that can lead to liver failure and possibly the need for a liver transplant. In addition, some people with hepatitis C develop liver cancer. Blood tests that can detect the hepatitis C virus are available. If the virus is found, it may be necessary to take a small sample of liver tissue — a procedure called a liver
biopsy. A biopsy can help doctors determine the severity of liver damage and guide treatment decisions. If you were born between 1945 and 1965, talk to your healthcare provider about being tested for hepatitis C. — Stacey Rizza, M.D. specializes in infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. © 2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All Rights Reserved Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Treatment options In many cases, though, hepatitis C infection is treated with antiviral medications that can clear the virus from the body. Usually, a combination of antiviral medicine is taken over several weeks to several months. Once the treatment is completed, blood tests are done to check for hepatitis C. If the virus is still present, a second round of treatment may be recommended. Frequently, no further treatment is necessary beyond that. If hepatitis C goes undetected and the infection is not treated over many years, it can cause serious liver problems. After
Treating Difficulty Standing or Walking, attributed to Arthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Neuropathy, Poor Circulation or Poor Balance I am a patient who had severe foot pain for 2 years, with no relief in sight....by the end of the 4 days I was 85% pain free in both feet. I thank God for Dr. Goldman and his passion for research in healing people with foot and leg pain.
How fortunate I feel to have found a doctor who could not only diagnose an underlying problem that many specialists missed, but who has been able to find a painless and rapid method of relieving the worst symptoms.
– Alvin, Baltimore
– Susan, Baltimore
As a podiatrist with over 30 years experience, I have always focused on non-surgical treatment of foot and leg pain. I find that most people with foot or leg symptoms (arthritic, aching, burning, cramping or difficulty walking) , even those who have had other treatments, including surgery of the foot (or back), can be helped, usually in 1or 2 visits.
Stuart Goldman, DPM
4419 Falls Road, Suite A, Baltimore 4000 Old Court Road, Suite 301, Pikesville
— Dr. Stuart Goldman Fellow American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Marquis Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare Author, multiple articles on Foot & Leg Symptoms
H elP F orYour F eeT.C oM
October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition