Overweight people between the ages of 44 and 65 already have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and adding hepatitis C to the mix significantly increases their diabetic risk.
Hepatitis C is common among adults with type 2 diabetes, but it has always been uncertain whether the virus precedes the development of diabetes.
As reported in the July issue of Hepatology, researchers found that hepatitis C patients already at high risk of developing diabetes were more than 11 times as likely to develop the disease as hepatitis C patients without any pre-existing diabetes risk factors.
In the absence of diabetes risk factors such as older age and higher body weight, there was no increase in diabetes risk for hepatitis C patients.
The researchers studied 1,084 adults between the ages of 44 and 65 who were free of diabetes at the beginning of the study. A total of 548 developed diabetes over the next nine years. The overall prevalence of hepatitis C in this population was 0.8 percent.
Persons were categorized as low-risk or high-risk for diabetes based on their age and body mass index, factors that appeared to modify the type 2 diabetes-hepatitis C infection incidence estimates.
The researchers emphasized that their findings should be considered preliminary until confirmed by larger prospective studies.
Other Sources: Hepatology 2003;38:50-56