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Reuters Health Information (2008-09-10): Glucose abnormalities common among chronic hepatitis C patients


Glucose abnormalities common among chronic hepatitis C patients

Last Updated: 2008-09-10 15:55:22 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Nearly two-thirds of patients with chronic hepatitis C infection may have abnormal glucose metabolism, according to a report in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"Glucose abnormalities are common and easily underestimated among patients with HCV infection," Dr. Ming-Lung Yu from Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan told Reuters Health. "Careful evaluation of possible underlying glucose abnormalities is an essential maneuver for chronic hepatitis C patients."

Dr. Yu and colleagues compared the prevalence and characteristics of glucose abnormalities among 522 chronic hepatitis C patients with those of 447 community-based controls, based on results of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

After excluding known diabetics, just over a third of the hepatitis C patients (34.2%) had a normal OGTT, the authors report, whereas 42.8% had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 23.0% had diabetes.

In contrast, 64.7% of controls had normoglycemia, 32.4% had IGT, and 2.9% had diabetes by OGTT.

Family history of diabetes, male gender, advanced fibrosis stage, and increasing age independently predicted glucose abnormalities in patients with chronic hepatitis C, according to multiple logistic regression analyses.

"Neither two consecutive FPG measurements nor random glucose level >200 mg/dL was comprehensive and sufficient for the elucidation of glucose abnormalities among CHC patients," Dr. Yu said.

"Since family history, insulin resistance, age, and obesity are predisposing factors associated with diabetes in CHC patients, we would recommend OGTT for chronic hepatitis C patients who are older than 40 years old or have a family history of diabetes ... or BMI > 25," Dr. Yu advised.

Am J Gastroenterol 2008;103:1933-1940.

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