Hepatitis C and diabetes are two diseases that can cause long term complications if left untreated.
Diabetes Educator Sharon Krispinsky says the two diseases have a lot in common. “There’s absolutely a link between hepatitis C and the development of type two diabetes.”
It’s common for patients to be diagnosed with both conditions. “Many patients with hepatitis C, about 30 percent of them have diabetes. In fact diabetes is so prevalent it’s often considered a symptom of hepatitis C,” said Krispinsky.
Both hepatitis C and diabetes target the liver.
“The liver is very important in blood sugar control and the reason being is the liver stores blood glucose and releases it in times of fasting, for instance at night your liver releases glucose to help prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low,” said Krispinsky.
If a patient has hepatitis C and diabetes, doctors may treat the hepatitis first in hopes of eradicating both diseases.
“Hepatitis C is treatable and 95 percent of the time we can eradicate it with one pill a day for 12 weeks. That’s what I do. If I can do that, there are studies that suggest that if I do that to a patient that has diabetes and I eradicate their hepatitis C a good number of those patients will actually improve with their diabetes to a point where they no longer need medication,” said Dr. Michael Bays, a gastroenterologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.
Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood, IV drugs, or sex, whereas type two diabetes can be caused by genetics or an unhealthy lifestyle.
“Patients with hepatitis C are 70 percent more likely to have diabetes than the general population,” said Dr. Bays.
Making it important for patients with either disease to talk to their physician about medical treatment and creating a healthy lifestyle.
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