October Blog Special: Extrahepatic Manifestations of Hepatitis C–Diabetes
There is a significant association between hepatitis C and type 2 diabetes. In a recent meta-analysis of published studies, it was found that hepatitis C infection is significantly associated with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance compared to healthy people and people infected with infected hepatitis B. Therefore, everyone with hepatitis C should have a diabetes test especially if people have additional risk factors.
HCV Treatment & Diabetes
People infected with hepatitis C and who have type 2 diabetes should be treated and cured of hepatitis C. Those who are cured of hepatitis C have an improvement in blood sugar levels and a reduction in diabetes medications.
There are some insurance companies and some state Medicaid programs that are restricting HCV treatment. Type 2 diabetes can increase the chances of being approved for HCV treatment. Talk with your medical provider and insurance company to increase the chances of being approved for treatment.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it increases the risk of liver cancer. Likewise, HCV increases the risk of disease progression. Curing hepatitis C decreases the risk of disease progression and the risk of liver cancer.
It is a no-brainer that we should be testing more people to find out if they have hepatitis C. If someone tests positive and they have chronic hepatitis C we should be treating them as soon as possible to prevent disease progression, the onset of diabetes, and liver cancer.
More Information – Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas produces to help the body absorb and regulate sugars (glucose) for energy. When someone has insulin resistance, the body is ‘resistant’ to insulin. As a result, the body produces more insulin. As a result, the body produces too much insulin—this is called hyperinsulinemia. It also means that too much glucose is build up in the blood and it can lead to high sugar levels that can lead to prediabetes. If left unchecked it can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
When the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes it is known as prediabetes. There are an estimated 84.1 million Americans with prediabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Treating insulin resistance and prediabetes with medications and lifestyle changes with various medications, diet interventions, and exercise can help control and even reverse insulin resistance and prediabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the United States —27 million Americans have type 2 diabetes).
Risk Factors: People who are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes include people 45 years old or older, being overweight or obese, having a parent, brother or sister with diabetes, having a genetic disposition to develop diabetes. Some races and ethnicities such as African Americans, Hispanics, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are more prone to having diabetes. As mentioned above having chronic heaptitis C is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The liver plays a role in sugar metabolism, so it’s not surprising that there is a link between hepatitis C and type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and hunger or appetite, dry mouth, frequent urination (peeing), fatigue (feeling tired), unexplained weight loss—even when eating more food. In extreme cases, people may experience loss of consciousness.
Over time, if left untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to severe complications including mental confusion, blurred vision, sores or wounds that are slow to heal or don’t heal, sexual problems, heart and kidney disease, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, amputation, liver cancer, coma and death.
Type 2 diabetes can be treated and controlled with diet, exercise, and various type 2 diabetes medications. The many medications are in the form of both pill and injectable medications. It is critical to medically monitor people in addition to a person eating well, exercising and monitoring their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a serious disease that has many consequences. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends testing adults with high blood pressure (greater than 135/80 mm Hg for diabetes.
“The United States Preventive Services Task (USPSTF) recommends screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of cardiovascular risk assessment in adult aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese. Clinicians should offer or refer patients with abnormal blood glucose to intensive behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthful diet and physical activity.”
To read about more extrahepatic manifestations read our Glossary, click here
Visit our Extrahepatic Manifestations HCSP Fact Sheet page, click here
Easy C Extrahepatic Manifestations Fact Sheet page, click here
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