Health Plus: Should you get tested for Hepatitis C? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Should you get tested for Hepatitis C?

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Hepatitis C is a disease you've probably heard of but can't explain.

It's the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants, but 800,000 Americans reportedly don't know they have it.

Doctor Carline Quander wants you to consider being tested for Hepatitis C.

"Doctors may not question their patients about this exposure and so they may not even know," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees with the Covenant Clinic physician.  The agency is now recommending baby boomers--or those born between 1945 and 1965--get their blood screened for it.

Why?

Because a lot of Americans who have Hep C don't know it.  They can live symptom-free for years.  The disease is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.

"Those are the baby boomers and those are the ones that might have Hep C through blood products before 1992 we were not testing blood products," she said.

The good news: Treatments are available now that weren't years ago.

"Recently in the past 35 years there've been some treatments that have shown benefit so if they're treated with the antiviral therapies you can cure them of the disease and prevent them from developing those late complications," she added.

In addition to blood transfusions and organ transplants before 1992, Hep C can be spread through sexual contact, injection drug use, tattoo needles and razors from barbershops or nail salons.

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