Growing Older and Hep C

As an official senior citizen, I thought it was appropriate for me to have some insights and understanding that I could share with others who may themselves be aging or are approaching their golden years, as some call it. "Are we old?”

If we choose to accept that time does march on, we are all getting older. Even a 12-year-old is aging because the opposite is not what any of us wants.

Hepatitis C is a chronic condition, but as we now know, it is curable. We also know that living with hep C over time can cause liver damage and other health issues in some people.

Undoubtedly, some of the health concerns we have when we age are directly a result of aging. Over time our immune response becomes less robust, organs can become diminished in the ways they are meant to function.

Let’s explore some of the most common experiences people mention:

Sleeplessness with hep C

It is probably the single most common thing I hear from others in my generation, and it affects me and has worsened over time, without question.

Can it be made worse because of our hep C experience is a question I have, and due to the effects that chronic diseases can have on things like mood, ability to be as active as we once were, there is in some of us? A sort of perfect storm?

I can tell you if you are one of the fortunate ones who does not have this sleep problem, you are lucky. Not everyone ages the same way as not everyone has long-lasting effects of chronic illness like hep C.

Good sleep is elusive for some of us, despite its importance. How to best deal with it varies as much as anything else, but talking to a sleep counselor could help, or trying a new and different approach if what you are doing isn’t working very well.

Avoiding stimulating activities or medication late in the evening can certainly affect my ability to get to sleep or stay asleep, but there is a myriad of ways people cope.

Feeling fatigue symptoms

It is not uncommon for us to feel more significant fatigue because of hep C, and it may be the most common symptom and the one I have heard people say mostly, not to mention my own experience. Tiring quickly and fatigue are also familiar with people as we age.

Most people find it improves at any age once they are cured of hep C, and I did experience the same myself. Does hep C have any connection, you think?

Coping with brain fog

I think we all know about this frustrating part of aging when we struggle to recall words or names or have a more pronounced version that goes beyond a bit of forgetfulness. Some tests can be done to quantify the level of cognitive impairment, and I offered to be part of a longitudinal (over a period) looking at health and wellness changes in a very extensive study of over 50 thousand people.

I thought there would be some significant data that could help people in the near and far future to age in a healthier way.

There are already some good data that points to something we already knew intuitively. Activity, plain old doing stuff to exercise our mind and body, and I am not suggesting all we need to do is work out or join the local gym.

It can be something simple. Reading, writing if you like, joining a club engaged in some form of physical activity, and even something as cheap and easy as walking every day. We want to have a stimulus in our lives, and what level of activity is up to us.

There is no magic at play or any single (best) approach, but avoiding things that cause us harms and doing the things that give us joy is, for me, the general rule. Remember that not all of us are up to doing a marathon or something big.

We have nothing to prove, only something we can always accrue benefits from on our terms.

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