Hepatitis-C Can Add Problems For Diabetics

Diabetic patients who have undergone procedures at the Endoscopy Center have special concerns. Diabetes by itself is already a risk factor for liver disease. So, some patients are worried that if they also contract hepatitis-C, they may be at higher risk for complications.

Henderson endocrinologist, Reid Litchfield has treated patients who not only have diabetes, but also a viral form of hepatitis, including types B and C.

"In many of those patients, the presence of the viral hepatitis and the liver disease associated with it makes the management of the diabetes a little more complicated," he said.

Diabetes can result in the accumulation of fat in the liver. And hepatitis-C only adds to the problem by increasing the inflammation. But drugs normally used to treat hepatitis, including Interferon, can be just as effective in someone with diabetes. Treating the hepatitis, however, may become first priority.

"We may have to pull them off their tablets and treat them with insulin, but it's a means to an end, of trying to eradicate their hepatitis and leave them with a healthy and functional liver," said Dr. Litchfield.

Dr. Litchfield says although the chances of contracting hepatitis-C from the Endoscopy Center are relatively low, he does encourage diabetic patients to be vigilant, considering the importance of early detection of hepatitis.

The stress of any serious illness can bring on full blown diabetes in someone who's borderline -- and that includes hepatitis.


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