Boomer Alert: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Screenings
The number of Americans dying from Hepatitis C related diseases nearly doubled from 1999 to 2007. And one in 30 baby boomers have been infected and might not even know it. These statistics come to us from the CDC who is now urging that baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis C. Baby boomers are defined as those born between 1945 and 1965.
It is possible that people were infected by blood transfusions, tattoos, piercing, shared razors, toothbrushes, even manicures. Of course other means of infection with Hepatitis C are sharing drug needles and sexual contact. This blood-borne virus can cause liver damage and it may take years for symptoms to appear. In addition to liver damage, Hepatitis C is linked to liver disease and liver cancer. The CDC estimates that more than 15,000 Americans die each year from Hepatitis C related illnesses.
Screening for Hepatitis C used to just be recommended for those at risk, like drug users. According to CDC, risk-based screening will continue, but is not sufficient alone.¬† More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C ‚Äì accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus.¬† Studies show that many baby boomers could have been infected with the virus decades ago, did not perceive themselves to be at risk, and have never been screened.
The CDC estimates one-time Hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C.¬† And with newly available therapies that can cure up to 75 percent of infections, expanded testing ‚Äì along with linkage to appropriate care and treatment ‚Äì would prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and save more than 120,000 lives.
The CDC states that without some intervention the statistics will only get worse and the number of infected and the number of deaths will continue to rise. Another reason the CDC is recommending testing now for baby boomers is that there are two new drugs on the market. Treatment for Hepatitis can vary and after receiving results patients should consult with a physician to decide the best treatment plan for them.
More information about Hepatitis C is available at http://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/
You Don‚Äôt Have to Do It Alone
Acupuncture is a practice originating in China in which needles are inserted into various metaphysically determined points of the body also known as, acupuncture points, and then manipulated. Practitioners claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats disease, prevents disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes. ¬†The practice dates back to at least the 2nd century B.C. in China. Acupuncture typically incorporates traditional Chinese medicine as an integral part of its practice and theory. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world. Acupuncture is based on a belief that flowing through the body is a kind of energy called ‚Äúqi‚Äù (pronounced “chi”). The acupuncture points are located on what are claimed to be paths or meridians where the qi is believed to flow.
Some barriers for those thinking about acupuncture include cost and being uncomfortable having it done in a room alone with just a practitioner. Community acupuncture clinics have begun to pop up and some patients have found them to be a great opportunity to receive acupuncture in a relaxed group setting and at a lower cost. Those who have used a community acupuncture clinic state that having other people present while they receive the treatment makes it a less tense. The group clinics are described as quiet despite there being multiple patients, Acupuncture for All in Baltimore, MD features a water fountain, relaxing music, calming blue walls, dimmed lights and reclining seats. A patient at Acupuncture for All say it is like being in your own living room. Treatments last approximately 45 minutes and some patients even fall asleep during that time.
Costs at community acupuncture clinics can range from $15 to $40 per treatment, this is a much lower cost than the up to $90 per visit you could pay at a traditional acupuncture office. Some clinics even offer sliding scale fees so that those who cannot afford a $20 per visit fee can still benefit from acupuncture. Fred Wolfson, who operates Acupuncture for All said the concept of community acupuncture is based on models of clinics in Asia, which are typically low cost. Patients are drawn to these clinics for the low cost and accessibility. These clinics are helpful for patients who might not otherwise be able to afford acupuncture or afford frequent visits.
With all that good news, you may be wondering, how can I benefit from group acupuncture? There is an online community to answer all your questions and help you find a clinic. At this time they only list one clinic in New Jersey. http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/