Baby Boomers should learn about hepatitis C.
I had to give the elegant retiree sitting on my exam table some very tough news. Her lab tests had come back and she was positive for Hepatitis C. I knew the questions she was going to ask, and I was ready with the answers.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis means inflamed liver. Viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis. Some cause acute hepatitis with symptoms of fever, body aches, pale stools, dark urine and jaundice – a yellow discoloration of the skin.
Although the patients feel quite ill, they usually get better on their own within a few weeks. Other viruses, including hepatitis C, cause chronic hepatitis which damages the liver slowly and silently over time.
The result is extensive scarring and hardening of the liver tissue, a higher risk of liver cancer, and sometimes even liver failure and death.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
The liver is a combination chemical factory, storage facility and processing plant. It manufactures cholesterol, albumin, clotting factors and other important enzymes. It regulates the amount of sugar, protein and fat in the blood. It stores vitamin A, iron and other nutrients until they are needed by the body. It filters toxins, including alcohol and cellular waste products, out of the bloodstream.
Damage to the liver affects the whole body’s metabolism. Symptoms of early liver damage may include vague symptoms like fatigue, puffy legs, bruising, decreased appetite and itching.
Read full article: Tronetti: Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers
|Read Full Article: Tronetti: Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers|