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31-07-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Hep C infection linked to diabetes-related complications in Kuwaitis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is more prevalent in Type 2 diabetes patients than in nondiabetics and is linked to a higher incidence of diabetes-related complications, a study in the Kuwaiti population shows.

The study also revealed a link between the incidence of HCV viremia and the development of diabetes-related complications, and suggested there may be an association between viral load and risk for complications.

As reported in Journal of Infection and Public Health, Wassim Chehadeh (Kuwait University) and colleagues compared the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and HCV status of 438 Type 2 diabetes patients with those of 440 patients without diabetes.

Among the diabetic group, the presence of diabetes-related complications such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular, renal, ocular or neurological disease, as well as demographic data, were recorded.

The authors found that 7% of the Type 2 diabetes patients had evidence of HCV infection compared with 1% of the control patients, and that HCV viremia had developed in 5.5% of the diabetes patients compared with only 0.7% of the control group.

They also report that, among the Type 2 diabetes group, diabetes-related complications were found in 23 (96%) of the 24 patients with HCV viremia, compared with 304 (73%) of 414 patients with no evidence of the infection. Even after adjusting for predictive variables for diabetes complications, HCV viremia was associated with a 23-fold increased likelihood of complications.

Further analysis revealed a possible link between diabetes-related complications and the extent of viral load. Although the viral load was not significantly different between those with diabetic complications and the one patient without, the authors say their finding that 52% of those with complications had a high viral load warrants further investigation.

The authors say they found no association between HbA1c levels and diabetes complications.

"Since HCV viremia was associated with increased occurrence of diabetes complications, and since there is a growing body of evidence supporting the link between diabetes mellitus and the development of liver cancer in HCV-patients, national health promotion campaigns and prevention programs should be targeted to Type 2 diabetes patients who are at high risk to contract a blood-borne infection like HCV," Chehadeh and team conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sally Robertson