Sunday, 29 July 2007

High association between hepatitis C and type 2

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A recent study by researchers in Taiwan revealed hepatitis C virus (HCV) raises the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne, infectious viral disease that messes with the liver -- capable of causing inflammation, scarring and even liver cancer.

4,958 non-diabetics aged 40 or older were followed for seven years. At the start of the study, 3,486 were seronegative (no antibodies in the blood), 812 were anti-HCV+ (positive to hepatitis C virus antibodies), 116 had HBV/HCV coinfection (HBV is hepatitis B virus), and 544 were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg+). The hepatitis B surface antigen is a protein antigen produced by hepatitis B, and the earliest indicator of acute hepatitis B.

474 participants developed diabetes over the next seven years. After established risk factors were adjusted for, the incidence of diabetes was 70 percent higher for participants with HCV infection. HBV/HCV coinfection and anti-HCV+ alone participants had nearly the same risk, which shows HCV increases diabetes risk while HBV does not. For younger, overweight anti-HCV+ participants, the risk was even higher. Stay away from those deep fried twinkies with chocolate syrup and powdered sugar!

Study authors note regular diabetes screenings are important for anti-HCV+ people, and should be started at a younger age, especially if overweight or with additional risk factors for the disease. Read more in Medscape. The study was published in the July 15 American Journal of Epidemiology.

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplant in the United States.

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