As Hepatitis Awareness Month continues, it’s time to think more about testing for hepatitis C. The disease is curable, but the liver, if too severely damaged, is not.
Everyone who has hep, had hep, works with people who have hep C or is reading this blog because of other interests, should pass the testing message along. It’s vital, just like the liver.
Hepatitis C ravages the liver. It’s symptoms usually creep up sluggishly and at first, imperceptibly. That’s why most people with the chronic form of the disease don’t know they have it. That’s why feeling symptoms of hep C should not be the only reason to be tested.
Being a baby baby boomer or suspecting you have been in contact with someone else’s unscreened blood should be the reason.
You can’t live without a liver. It filters blood, removing harmful substances, such as alcohol. It manufactures proteins that defend against infection and help the blood to clot. It regulates the supply of vitamins, minerals, and hormones, including sex hormones. It produces, stores, and regulates glucose and fat. It makes and eliminates cholesterol and also converts it into lipoproteins that deliver energy to the cells.
Altogether, the liver performs more than five hundred bodily functions. It continues to do these jobs during the early stages of hep-caused fibrosis, and early on it can recover fully from damage. Later, when the liver hardens into cirrhosis, it progressively loses important abilities. When the damage becomes severe, liver cancer or a liver transplant are common results.
So no one should risk this vital organ, whether they have symptoms of hep C or not. It’s easy to get tested. Just ask your doctor–or ask your friends to ask theirs.