Hepatitis and Seniors – A Healthcare Guide

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day and, at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, we’d like to highlight this healthcare condition among seniors. Here’s some information from our team that we hope you find helpful!

What is Hepatitis? 

This disease is characterized by swelling and inflammation of the liver. The inflammation can lead to scarring (cirrhosis) and jaundice, affecting the function of the liver and even leading to liver cancer and liver failure. It can be acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic.

In some cases, hepatitis can be self-healing — but it’s always best to visit the doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal discomfort and pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Dark urine and pale stools
  • Low fever
  • General itching

Causes of Hepatitis 

Hepatitis A can be transmitted through a virus as well as through a bacterial or parasitic infection. Type B spreads through contact with the blood, open sores, or body fluids of someone who has the hepatitis B virus; it can also be transmitted as an STD. It can also be triggered by liver damage from alcoholism, ingestion of toxic substances, and long-term use/overdose of certain medications (especially pain medications and anti-inflammatories).

Seniors are especially vulnerable to hepatitis C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 75% of adults currently living with the disease were born between 1945 and 1965. Undiagnosed seniors may be unaware that they carry the virus, as it can remain dormant for decades before it starts attacking the liver. Compounding the trend, testing was not as rigorous back then as it is today, making screening essential.

What Happens in a Hepatitis C Test? 

The good news is twofold: First, a simple blood test can detect hepatitis C or any other strain. Second, care and treatment options have come a long way, so once patients are diagnosed, a range of different medications can send the disease into remission and restore healthy living. Some medications can even help reverse liver damage, so early diagnosis is essential!

Life a Full Life at Our Assisted Living Community in New Jersey 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent style living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus on providing essential resources that promote independence.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us and book your visit today.