New research indicates that people age 40 or older who are infected with hepatitis C have three times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than uninfected people. Scientists believe that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases insulin resistance, predisposing patients to type 2 diabetes.
One group of researchers reviewed available evidence relating to an association between HCV and diabetes. All studies that had a control group showed a higher prevalence of HCV antibodies among patients with type 2 diabetes than patients who didn't have diabetes. Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) confirm a three times greater risk of type 2 diabetes among patients with HCV who were at least 40 years old. No link has been found between HCV and type 1 diabetes.
Researchers recommend that health care providers screen patients who have HCV at least every 3 years for diabetes and prediabetes.