An epidemiologic link between chronic hepatitis C (HCV) and type II diabetes mellitus (DM) has been established. Our aims were to prospectively determine the prevalence of DM in interferon-naïve patients with HCV in comparison with the general population, and to determine the association between DM and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) with histological stage in patients with HCV. A consecutive sample of 179 patients was included in this prospective cross-sectional study. The crude percentage of DM for the cohort was 14.5%, different from the crude rate of 7.8% for the general population (p = 0.0008) and from the rate of 7.3% observed in a matched control group with non-HCV liver disease. The prevalence of DM and IFG (DM/IFG) was higher among HCV-infected patients with advanced versus those with early histological disease (p = 0.0004). Advanced histological disease predicted DM/IFG after controlling for other identified risk factors for DM. Family history was the only other independent predictor of DM/IFG in HCV-infected patients. In conclusion, patients with HCV had a higher prevalence of DM compared to the general population. The presence of advanced histological disease in genetically predisposed HCV-patients is associated with a higher prevalence of DM/IFG. DM and IFG were not associated with anthropomorphic markers of obesity in HCV patients, suggesting a unique multifactorial pathogenesis of DM in HCV.
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