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Insulin Resistance Linked to Hepatitis C Infection

French investigators at the Universite Denis Diderot-Paris said that insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor, is a specific feature of chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, independent of the severity of the infection and other metabolic factors.

The study found that 150 or 32.4 percent out of 462 patients with chronic HCV and who were also free of diabetes were insulin resistant. Insulin resistance in this group was also associated with the metabolic syndrome (a cluster of heart disease and other diabetes risk factors), as well as HCV genotypes 1 and 4, significant fibrosis or liver scarring, severe fatty liver disease, and being older than age 40.

Findings also showed that 22 or 15 percent among the 145 chronically HCV infected patients without metabolic syndrome or significant fibrosis, were diagnosed with insulin resistance. In the said population, insulin resistance was also associated with HCV genotypes 1 and 4, high blood levels of HCV, and moderate to severe liver inflammation.

Researchers suggest: “Insulin resistance should be assessed in the routine management of patients with chronic hepatitis C.”

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