Mercy’s Dr. Paul Thuluvath Discusses Importance Of Hepatitis C Screenings
It's a disease linked to drug use and tattoo needles, but Hepatitis C is also transmitted through infected blood and blood products.
Until 1992, such products were not screened for the virus making one age group in particular -- baby boomers -- at a higher risk for contracting Hepatitis C.
About eight years ago, Bettie Durant experienced swelling in her legs. After undergoing a series of tests, she was shocked to learn she had Hepatitis C.
"I was at a loss and kind of scared, because as far as I knew, there was no cure," Durant said.
According to Dr. Paul Thuluvath, Medical Director for The Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy, Durant's age group has a higher risk compared to other generations of contracting the disease.
"The truth is, if you were to screen everyone in this country born between 1945 and 1965, we will identify 80 percent of the population with Hepatitis C," Dr. Thuluvath said. "Currently only half the people or less than half the people are identified, so more than half live without knowing they have Hepatitis C."
That's because the disease progresses slowly, often without symptoms. Dr. Thuluvath, who has authored a book on the issue of Hepatitis C, noted that the Centers for Disease Control now recommend baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis c.
"So I think it's extremely important to know it early and treat it early so we can prevent all the complications, including cancer of the liver," Dr. Thuluvath said.
Many Hep-C patients can now be cured. That was the case for Durant, who is now considered cured.
"I can't even tell you how relieved and how happy I was and how thankful I was (too)," Durant said.
View Dr. Thuluvath’s interview regarding screening for Hepatitis C, and learn more about Dr. Thuluvath’s new book regarding Hepatitis C.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.
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