Baby boomers have one more thing to add to their list of health concerns. The CDC wants everyone to get a one-time blood test to check for the liver-destroying disease, Hepatitis C.
Doctors say it’s not something to be alarmed about, but it’s a good proactive approach. Dr. Robert Penn says many of the baby boomer generation may have been exposed to Hepatitis C and not know it. That means anyone born between 1945 and 1965 should get checked. “It's just a blood draw and the lab tests for specifically and anti-body against Hepatitis C,” said Dr. Penn.
It's as simple as asking your doctor for the screening at your next exam. Dr. Penn says 75 percent of the estimated 2.3 million Americans don't even know they are infected.
“I don't think anybody should be alarmed, but approach this as a way of identifying an infectious disease that can now be more effectively treated,” said Dr. Penn.
Some of the ways baby boomers may have contracted Hepatitis C is through sharing needles, blood transfusions before 1992, sharing a tooth brush or razor with an infected person and in some cases, tattoos from unlicensed artists. “Most people don't have any symptoms until they have advanced disease,” said Dr. Penn.
There is also not a vaccine for Hepatitis C. Dr. Penn says it’s treatable, but some treatments can be extensive.