What Baby Boomers Need To Know About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C invisibly incubates in the liver for decades possibly causing cirrhosis, cancer, and liver failure. It is possible for people to spend years living their lives never knowing they have the disease. And boomers are being hardest hit, because of the timing, some are learning they have hep C when the get their life insurance physical results.
As individuals born between the years 1946 and 1964, baby boomers are currently between the ages of 46 and 64. Constituting a majority of documented Hepatitis C infections, a recent study has found that this generation is less likely to triumph over Hepatitis C than younger generations. Despite the scientific data that implies an uphill battle for baby boomers with Hepatitis C, most experts believe that there are ways to achieve a positive outcome. Healthcare practitioners have the liberty of being hopeful because they know that a myriad of strategies can effectively boost Hep C treatment success, regardless of a person’s age bracket.
Described as those who were born soon after World War II, there are an estimated 75 million baby boomers in the United States, or about 29 percent of America’s total population. It is inevitable that this large proportion of the workforce is approaching the age where health issues typically escalate. Unfortunately, boomers with Hepatitis C face an additional challenge; a new study claims that they are less responsive than younger generations to antiviral treatment.
According to reports, baby boomers account for two out of every three cases of chronic Hepatitis C. Thus, a significant proportion of people with Hepatitis C are close to or over 50-years old. Based on a study, individuals with genotype 1 chronic Hepatitis C who are older than 50 have a lower rate of treatment success with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, compared to patients under age 50.
In this study, data was evaluated from over 550 patients with genotypye 1 chronic Hepatitis C taking pegylated interferon alfa-2a (Pegasys) and weight-based dosing of ribavirin for 12 months. Known as a sustained virologic response (SVR), successful treatment is assumed if a person has no detectable Hepatitis C viral load six months after the completion of therapy. Upon looking at SVR, the researchers found the following:
· 52 percent of patients aged 50 or younger achieved SVR.
· 39 percent of patients over 50 achieved SVR.
· 41 percent of patients over 50 relapsed.
· 25 percent of patients aged 50 or younger relapsed.