Hepatitis C patients may have abnormal blood sugar
Reuters, September 8, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Nearly two thirds of patients with chronic
hepatitis C infection may have abnormal blood sugar levels, according to a
report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Blood sugar, or "glucose," abnormalities "are common and easily
underestimated among patients with chronic hepatitis C infection," Dr.
Ming-Lung Yu from Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan told Reuters Health.
Careful evaluation for undetected glucose abnormalities is "essential" in
caring for chronic hepatitis C patients.
Yu and colleagues compared the prevalence and characteristics of glucose
abnormalities among 522 chronic hepatitis C patients and a comparison group
of 447 without hepatitis C infection ("controls"), based on the results of
an oral glucose tolerance test.
After excluding the subjects who were known to have diabetes, just over one
third of the hepatitis C patients (34.2 percent) had normal results on the
oral glucose tolerance test, the authors report, whereas 42.8 percent had
impaired glucose tolerance and 23.0 percent had undiagnosed diabetes.
In contrast, 64.7 percent of the controls had normal levels of glucose, 32.4
percent had impaired glucose tolerance, and 2.9 percent had diabetes.
A family history of diabetes, male gender, advanced fibrosis stage of
hepatitis, and increasing age each increased the risk of having glucose
abnormalities, according to additional analyses.
Two consecutive fasting plasma glucose measurements or randomly measured
glucose levels greater than 200 milligram per deciliter were not sufficient
to confirm glucose abnormalities in the patients with chronic hepatitis C
infection, Yu noted.
"Since family history, insulin resistance, age, and obesity are predisposing
factors associated with diabetes in chronic hepatitis C patients, we would
recommend an oral glucose tolerance test for chronic hepatitis C patients
who are older than 40 years old," have a family history of diabetes or who
are overweight, Yu advised.