Hepatitis C Could Lead to Type 2

According to a study published in the October 17, 2000 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection brings with it an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, say previous studies have linked HCV with an increased risk of diabetes, but most of these patients may already have severe liver disease. They argue their study alone could account for the higher rates of diabetes in such patients.

David L. Thomas, MD, and colleagues from Johns Hopkins examined data from more than 9,800 adults enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for evidence of a link between HCV infection and type 2 diabetes. Overall, 8.37 percent of these individuals had type 2 diabetes, 0.38 percent had type 1 diabetes and 2.14 percent had evidence of HCV infection. After adjusting for these factors, the prevalence of type 2 was significantly higher in the HCV-positive group than in the HCV-negative group, except in persons younger than 40 years of age. In the 40-to-49-year-old age group, HCV-infected individuals were 3.1 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those without HCV infection.

The researchers say further investigation is needed to establish the relationship between HCV infection and type 2 diabetes and to assess biological mechanisms.

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