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Aging and HCV
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects all age groups. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 HCV-positive adults over the age of 70, living in the U.S. The prevalence of those with HCV has remained constant, but the balance is shifting, as patients grow older. And as Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the U.S. population will have record numbers of aging adults living with HCV.
Family and Friends: Caring for Someone with HCV
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers have a higher risk of mental and physical health problems than non-caregivers do. They experience depression, pain, loneliness, isolation, abandonment, loss, and grief. They experience fear – of the unknown, of death and of change. Caregivers may feel insecure about their ability to give adequate support. They may worry about the security of their future, the risk of acquiring HCV, or of being a single parent or sole financial provider. The likelihood of any of this happening is low. However, it is normal to feel and think about these possibilities.
Final Steps: An HCSP Guide on Death and Dying
Unfortunately, it is not known who will and who will not have serious disease progression. For this reason, everyone with hepatitis C needs to be regularly monitored by their medical provider. But, we are all going to die from something at some point. Ignoring death does not change the outcome. Experts in the field of death suggest bringing this topic into the open. Confronting death may help us realize how alive we are. Coming to terms with death may help our loved ones and us.
Making Sense of Research and Medical Literature
A newspaper headline states, “New Treatment Discovered for Hepatitis C.” An Internet site claims “more patients responded to drug A than drug B.” Your doctor prescribes a new medication for you and there are nearly 50 side effects listed for it. You attend a hepatitis C conference and each drug company tells you why their drug is better – all backed by research. How do you know what is true? More specifically, what is true for you?
Stigma and HCV
Millions of Americans live with the hepatitis C virus. Although potentially life-threatening, the vast majority of those with HCV will die with but not of HCV: it is manageable and treatable. HCV touches the homes, workplace and communities of all those within its reach, and may test the physical, emotional and spiritual health of those with it. An often overlooked and painful component of HCV is stigma. Although invisible, stigma is a harsh reality.
Support Group Handbook
For many people, living with hepatitis C is not easy. The best way to live well with hepatitis C is to educate ourselves about the disease so that we can receive the optimal medical care. It is also very important that we seek and receive support from healthcare providers, family, loved ones, friends, and peers. One important component of the process is to discuss and share our experiences about hepatitis C with others. A peer support group is one of the best places to learn about hepatitis C and find support.
Viral Hepatitis: The Basics
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is a picornavirus that enters the bloodstream via the intestines. Once it enters the blood stream it is transported to the liver where it replicates. HAV is excreted in feces or stool – which is the major transmission route. HAV is the most common type of viral hepatitis in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that about 3,000 new HAV infections occur annually in the United States, and approximately one-third of all Americans have been infected with HAV, most during childhood.
Women and Hepatitis C
Sometimes the only sign of HCV is found when a blood test is done. When one of the liver enzymes, ALT, is abnormally high, it suggests that the liver might be inflamed, so more lab tests are ordered to find out the reason for the inflammation. But sometimes a person can be HCV positive and have normal ALT levels. Some experts believe that the cut-off number for abnormal liver tests should actually be lower for women than the numbers most labs use. If you are a woman with any risk factors for HCV or your liver enzymes are on the high side of normal, get tested!