The Association between Infection with Hepatitis C Virus and Diabetes
- The full report is titled "Prevalence of Type 2
Diabetes Mellitus among Persons with Hepatitis C Virus
Infection in the United States." It is in the 17
October 2000 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine
(volume 133, pages 592-599). The authors are SH Mehta,
FL Brancati, MS Sulkowski, SA Strathdee, M Szklo, and
DL Thomas. |Full Text|
SUMMARY FOR PATIENTS
The Association between Infection with Hepatitis C
Virus and Diabetes
What is the problem and what is known about it so far?
Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to
liver problems. Chronic HCV infection has also been
associated with illnesses not related to the liver.
For example, some small studies suggest that diabetes
is more common in people with HCV infection than in
persons without it. Diabetes affects the body's
ability to produce or respond to insulin, a hormone
that regulates how the body uses carbohydrate,
protein, and fat. There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes begins during childhood or young
adulthood. People with type 1 diabetes do not make
enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes, also known as
adult-onset diabetes, interferes with the body's
ability to respond to insulin. Over time, high blood
sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can
lead to such complications as blindness, kidney
failure, and heart disease.
Why did the researchers do this particular study?
To see whether the likelihood of developing diabetes
is increased among persons with HCV infection in the
general adult population in the United States.
Who was studied?
Nearly 10,000 persons older than 20 years of age who
participated in the Third National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) during 1988
to 1994 and had complete evaluation for HCV infection
and for diabetes.
How was the study done?
NHANES III was conducted by interviewing a sample of
the U.S. civilian population in their own homes. The
survey asked about personal characteristics, medical
history, current and past medicine use, and health
behaviors. Ninety-one percent of participants also had
a physical examination and blood tests. The blood
tests included measurement of the blood sugar level
(to detect diabetes) and a test for HCV infection,
which was done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. The researchers compared the frequency
of diabetes (type 1 and type 2) in persons with and
those without HCV infection.
What did the researchers find?
Of the 9841 persons studied, 1242 had type 2 diabetes
and 230 had HCV infection. People with HCV infection
were more than three times more likely than people
without HCV infection to have type 2 diabetes. None of
the 19 persons with type 1 diabetes had HCV infection.
What were the limitations of the study?
This study suggests an association between type 2
diabetes and HCV infection, but it does not prove that
the infection causes diabetes.
What are the implications of the study?
In the United States, type 2 diabetes occurs more
often in people with HCV infection than it does in
people without this infection.
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