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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


Type 2 diabetes and hepatitis C

Over 40s with Hep C 3 times more likely to have diabetes (REF: Ann Intern Med)

US researchers, writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, report the results of a study which found that people over 40, who had antibodies to hepatitis C, were over three times as likely as those without antibodies to have type 2 diabetes.

Subjects were 9,841 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Blood samples were taken for the presence of antibodies to hepatitis C and for fasting plasma glucose levels.


The researchers found:

  • 1,242 (8.37%) people had type 2 diabetes mellitus, while 19 people had type 1 diabetes
  • 230 (2.14%) people had antibodies to the hepatitis C virus
  • The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was higher in those who tested positive for hepatitis C than in those who tested negative in all age groups except the under 40s
  • After adjusting for risk factors, those aged over 40, who had tested positive for hepatitis C antibodies, were more than three times as likely as those who tested negative to have type 2 diabetes (odds ratio 3.77).

Discussing their findings, the researchers recommended further research into the relationship between diabetes and hepatitis C, given that there appeared to be no clear cut biological basis for the link.

REF: Mehta S H et al. Prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus among persons with hepatitis C virus infection in the United States. Ann Intern Med 2000; 133: 592-599

Correspondence to: Dr David Thomas, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 1147 Ross Building, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Graeme Alexander, of the University of Cambridge, points out that, although there is obviously a link between hepatitis C infection and type 2 diabetes, the nature of the link remains unclear. He comments 'longitudinal studies on this subject are eagerly awaited.'


REF: Alexander G J M. An association between hepatitis C virus and Type 2 diabetes: what is the connection? Ann Intern Med 2000; 133: 650-652