Aging Options

What’s the #1 Infectious Disease Killer in U.S.? A Surprising Answer

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It’s a disease that is widespread, but treatable. Many who have the disease have lived with it for years without knowing it. It’s a virus that now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease.

What’s this mystery illness? It’s hepatitis C. In 2014 nearly 20,000 Americans died from this illness, a record high number. What’s worse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Those tragically high numbers aren’t necessary.”

Click here to read this just-published article from the website

Why do we bring this medical alert to your attention here at AgingOptions? It’s because hepatitis C affects aging baby boomers disproportionately. As the article explains, while many new cases of Hepatitis C affect young users of illegal intravenous drugs, most cases of the disease are discovered among those born between 1945 and 1965 – the Boomer Generation, many of whom are approaching retirement or already retired. As the article explains, according to the CDC, “many [boomers] were infected during medical procedures such as injections and blood transfusions when these procedures were not as safe as they are now.” The article goes on to state that many hepatitis C-infected boomers may even have lived with the disease for many years without knowing it.

The prevalence of hepatitis C appears to be experiencing a dramatic rise, so much so that deaths related to the disease in 2013 outnumbered the combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases including HIV and tuberculosis. Diagnosis and treatment are imperative, says the CDC, because, left untreated, hepatitis C increases the risk for liver cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Those with the disease may also unknowingly infect others.

Another dire assessment from the CDC: the number of actual deaths related to hepatitis C might even be higher than reported. That’s because most of the data about hepatitis C comes from death certificates, which can often be inaccurate when it comes to hepatitis C related deaths. One CDC expert says the actual number of new cases each year may exceed 30,000. Complicating the picture is the fact that the disease has few if any symptoms, and testing is still limited. The result is that up to 3.5 million Americans may have hepatitis C and not know it.

But there is definitely good news. Hepatitis C testing for most patients (especially non-drug abusing baby boomers) only has to be done once, and is strongly recommended by the CDC for everyone born between 1945 and 1965. (Regular testing is suggested for others at high risk.) If you or someone you love is diagnosed with the disease, the article states that drug treatments have greatly advanced in recent years. “For people diagnosed with the virus,” says the article, “these new and highly effective treatments can cure the vast majority of infections in two to three months.” This is an important conversation to have with your family practice doctor or geriatrician.

With any health concern, accurate information and clear diagnosis are essential. That’s also how it is with every aspect of a good retirement plan, and that’s what we do for our clients here at AgingOptions. We work with you to diagnose the condition of your retirement planning and to prescribe a course of action that ensures that every facet of your retirement plan is healthy and robust. This includes not only your medical needs but also your housing options, your family communications, your financial security and your legal affairs. We call this plan a LifePlan, and while the process of preparing one sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be.

The best way to begin the process is by attending a free LifePlanning seminar. You’ll come away from this information-packed session armed with a comprehensive “road map” to help guide you forward. Of course, we’ll look forward to working with you every step of the way. To reserve your place at the seminar of your choice, click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website. It will be our pleasure to help you plan for a fruitful retirement!

(originally reported at

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