Aging with HCV

We are seeing a large number of people who are part of an aging population living with hepatitis c. Many of you have known about the statistical evidence, which pins the majority of people with hep c being from the baby boomer population, and has been confirmed by the CDC for 4 years now.

What we are seeing more and more of is this aging population-not old- but older ha-ha… we are seeing many come forward with concerns about their health, whether previously diagnosed or new to all of this. Some are being tested because of symptoms that are now difficult to ignore. The fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, nausea, upper right quadrant pain or any number of issues related to living with hep c over time. These symptoms can be caused by other things as well, and with age comes the greater likelihood of us experiencing them. This is not to say that only those who have been living with the virus for a long time will have symptoms but this is the most common path we see. There is absolutely no way to predict the progression of illness, and we see people who have lived with the virus for decades yet show little liver damage while others may progress to advanced liver disease in as little as 10 years.

This older population may also be experiencing health conditions exacerbated (brought on by) living with hep c over time. Alcohol use and diet play a roll along with whether a person has been able to eat a nutritious and healthy diet over decades.

With aging comes many challenges for even the healthiest of us, but impose an infection on top of the process of aging and we can see faster onset of all sorts of issues. I can share my own experience as I got into my 50’s I noticed that I could not work as hard or as long without feeling more tired than I did in my 40’s and so on. This is expected with getting older, but as the years went by it was pronounced in a way that made me think the worst. The fatigue and nausea that was worse with each passing year took a toll. Lack of focus was horrible as well, and it was made even more difficult with the anxiety I felt not knowing what was next.

As it turned out it was less about my aging and more about hep c and how it was affecting my whole being. Yes it was part of getting older but many of the problems were made better after being free of the virus. Not everything is fixed. I am aging, and there is no doubt about this fact, but I prefer aging to what I was headed for. I have spoken often about quality of life, and it remains the most important piece of this giant puzzle of life, and young or old, if we do not have a reasonable quality of life it wears us down over time. Any chronic condition has the potential to diminish our feelings of well being, and hep c is no exception at all.

I live with chronic pain unrelated to hep c, and I can deal with it well most of the time. I accept that as I age it may become more difficult to function as I do now, but being hep c free will go a long way to making the future easier.

I hope the same for you.

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