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Aging and Extrahepatic Manifestations

We are all getting older, or at least that is my hope for you and me, just not prematurely so. The opposite of aging is not in the plan for now or the near future, anyway. I have not ever dwelled on age so much, but as I approach yet another milestone it is on my mind somewhat. There have been a few birthdays that stood out as noteworthy, while others were just an all-round nothingburger.

Another milestone?

Like many of us, the first big one was 18-19, and then 21, followed by 30, while 40 was a big yawn and 50 was much the same. Sixty was starting to feel serious, but no crisis. Still, no crisis, even though I am still unsure what to make of this next one. The fact is that I am alive, and for the most part, I am mostly healthy presently and free of hepatitis C for nearly a decade. So, what is there to worry about?

Sure, I have some health issues, and few people live this long without a few medical conditions. Some are simple and easily managed while others are chronic, and persistently affect our quality of life in challenging ways. In the context of hepatitis C, I do still have a few lingering extrahepatic manifestations (EHM) thanks to living with the virus for years. Most of these are manageable, so I can’t complain too much at the moment.

Age is just a number, right?

As I have heard from so many others in the community, I still lack the stamina I used to have. Some have suggested I may have unrealistic expectations considering my age, but mentally I do feel younger.

Some people say age is merely a number, and I agree in some measure, but measurements can be tricky in many ways. There are indexes for almost everything, and the most important is quality of life. We all have a unique perspective on this and it remains a subjective opinion based on our own lived experience, not on someone else. Yes, there are standards for these things, such as academic endeavors to understand what are mostly population-based standards that can affect programming and policy. Do these policies and programs suit everyone? Understandably, not.

Are you able to do the things that give you joy? I hope so. Do you suffer from chronic pain or a condition that inhibits your normal everyday activities? These are the questions that make the most sense to me, regardless of our age. The notion that 60 is the new 40 or similar statements reflect on improvements in disease management and treatments like what we have seen with hepatitis C.

Again, broad strokes that may not capture your experience at all, but the hope is that you are lucky enough to have access to the services and care that will help you age with the benefits that improve your quality of life, not simply extending your years.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.