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Gastroenterology clinic

Hepatitis C and obesity: a weighty issue

Venessa Pattullo

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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus is directly implicated in the development of insulin resistance which, along with obesity, is associated with a worse prognosis in chronic hepatitis C and poorer response to interferon–ribavirin therapy.

Key Points

    Remember
  • Obesity (body mass index, BMI, of 30 kg/m2 or more) is common in patients with chronic hepatitis C; it has been found in up to 28.8% of patients. Obesity is associated with the metabolic complications of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been directly implicated in the development of virus-mediated insulin resistance and therefore, in itself, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • HCV infection and obesity occurring concurrently thus compound the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

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