Having both Hepatitis C and diabetes can be challenging. In this article, learn about the link between these two and how to take care of yourself if you have diabetes.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the liver and can lead to liver damage. It’s often caused by a virus. The most common hepatitis viruses are:
- hepatitis A
- hepatitis B
- hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is of major concern because about 75 to 85 % of people who become infected with hepatitis C will eventually develop the chronic form of the disease.
Chronic HCV can prevent the liver from performing its basic functions, which include:
- Proper digestion
- Normal blood clot
- Protein Production
- Energy storage
- Immunity building
- Waste elimination
The Link Between Chronic Hepatitis C and Diabetes
Since chronic HCV can impact the many functions that the liver performs, the disease can decline your health. Chronic HCV can also increase your chances of developing other immune system disorders such as heart disease, and diabetes.
Up to one-third of people with chronic HCV re prone to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is also linked to worsening cases of HCV.
Diabetes can also be caused if the cells in your body have difficulty absorbing blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is a source of energy.Insulin is what helps glucose get into our cells. HCV may increase the body’s insulin resistance, which is the primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
If you have insulin resistance, glucose has difficulty getting to where the body needs it. The autoimmune problems associated with HCV may also increase the probability of developing type 1 diabetes.
The chronic form of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been linked to risk factors for the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. And people with diabetes are likely to have a more complicated course of chronic Hepatitis C Chronic Virus (HCV).
The most common way to get the hepatitis C virus is through exposure to infected blood. This can happen via:
- injecting drugs using a syringe previously used by an infected person
- sharing personal hygiene items, like razors
- getting a tattoo or a body piercing using an infected needle
There is no vaccine to prevent HCV and therefore, it is important to know the risks of contracting the HCV virus, and how your health may be affected in the long-run.
If you have pre-existing diabetes, you are at risk for a more aggressive course of HCV. This can include increased scarring and cirrhosis, poorer response to medication, and an increased likelihood of developing liver cancer. Having diabetes interferes with the normal function of your immune system. This can also decrease your body’s ability to fight off infections, including HCV.
Hepatitis C and Diabetes Treatment
If you have diabetes and HCV, treatment can become more challenging. The body’s cells become more insulin resistant with HCV, so you may need higher dose medication to keep blood sugar levels within normal range. If you’re taking pills for diabetes, you might have to switch to injected insulin if your diabetes becomes too difficult to manage.
Managing Both Conditions
Chronic HCV and diabetes affect one another. HCV is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. Having diabetes raises the chance of complications related to chronic HCV infection.
If you have chronic HCV, your doctor may recommend regular sugar tests for diabetes.You could also invest in a glucometer – a self blood sugar monitoring device.