Hepatitis C is an illness that can lead to debilitating disability and many people may not even know they have the disease until it begins to become a problem. The disease has been called a silent epidemic. More than two million baby boomers in the U.S. have hepatitis C. The disease affects the liver and can be life-threatening. Hepatitis C can cause cancer, and liver cancer is becoming the fastest-growing cause of death from cancer.
Each year, 15,000 people die from illnesses related to hepatitis C. Illnesses related to hepatitis C include hepatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive degeneration of cognitive functioning, and cirrhosis, which is irreversible liver damage. People with hepatitis C and conditions related to hepatitis C may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits if they can no longer work.
A Baby Boomer could experience life-altering symptoms from hepatitis C-related conditions before they are of retirement age. If these symptoms make it impossible to work before a Baby Boomer is older than 65, they may need to apply for disability benefits. The CDC recommends that baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C because more than 800,000 people may have the virus and not know it. The best way to live longer with the disease is to catch it early and effectively manage it before it gets worse.
Source: Beaumont Enterprise, "Incidence of Hepatitis C to Rise Among Baby Boomers; Disease Can Lead to Severe Disability," Aug. 24, 2012
Comments: Leave a comment