How hepatitis is linked with diabetes, HIV

New Delhi, July 28(IANS) While hepatitis primarily affects the liver, it is also linked with other chronic diseases like diabetes and HIV and often leads to worse outcomes, said doctors on World Hepatitis Day on Friday.

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on July 28 to create awareness and the theme this year is ‘One life, one liver.’

Studies have shown that chronic Hepatitis virus infection can increase the risk of someone developing diabetes.

This is because the virus impacts the liver, which is involved in storing glucose. If the liver cannot function as it should, it can lead to high blood glucose levels and insulin resistance.

“Hepatitis and diabetes share a complex relationship. Patients with diabetes have high risk of hepatitis B or C and higher risk of worse outcomes of their hepatitis infection,” Dr Anshul Agrawal, MD, DM Endocrinology, Vinayak Hospital, Jhansi, told IANS.

A study led by researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that diabetics are prone to develop liver diseases and liver regeneration is impaired in them.

The concomitant existence of diabetes and hepatitis potentially leads to a life-threatening status, increasing mortality by approximately 17 per cent among diabetic patients, revealed the study.

“For those facing both challenges, regular medical check-ups, medication management, and lifestyle modifications are crucial to maintain overall health,” said Dr Agrawal.

“Managing both hepatitis and diabetes requires a comprehensive approach. From dietary modifications and blood sugar management to vaccinations and infection control, taking proper care can improve the quality of life for individuals with these conditions,” Prof. Dr. Abhijeet Muglikar, a diabetologist, told IANS.

Further, hepatitis is also linked with HIV.

People with diabetes are also at risk for hepatitis B because of frequent percutaneous exposures to blood. Co-infection with both HIV and viral hepatitis might also have detrimental effects on those who are infected.

Liver disease, much of which is related to hepatitis B or C, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.

“Despite being two different viral illnesses, hepatitis, and HIV have a strong connection because of their mode of transmission. Blood-to-blood contact, sexual contact, and the use of contaminated needles or syringes are all ways that these viruses can be spread. Due to these widespread methods of transmission, people with HIV are more likely to get viral hepatitis such hepatitis B and hepatitis C,” Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Director, Internal Medicine, C.K. Birla Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

People who have both diseases may proceed more quickly in co-infected people, increasing liver damage and consequences. Liver dysfunction and medication dosage might make treating and managing HIV more difficult. Therefore, routine HIV and hepatitis screening is crucial, especially for people with risk factors for exposure, to reduce the likelihood of co-infection.

In addition, hepatitis B vaccine is advised for HIV-positive people to avoid infection.

For co-infected people to experience optimal health outcomes, early detection and appropriate therapy of both illnesses are essential, the doctor said.

According to Dr Neelam Mohan, Director Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Liver Transplantation, Medanta, Gurugram, to eliminate the global hepatitis epidemic by 2030, it is also vital to focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

This mode of transmission demands urgent attention as it poses significant risks to infants if contracted during pregnancy or childbirth.

“Pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B or C have a high likelihood of passing on the infection to their babies during delivery, potentially leading to lifelong health complications such as liver disease and cancer. The risk of transmission of Hepatitis B from an infected mother to her baby is more than 90 per cent, making awareness and preventive measures crucial,” Dr Mohan told IANS.

Pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B and C, and if infected, they must seek immediate consultation with a liver specialist. Antiviral therapy can reduce the risk of transmission during the last months of pregnancy. Additionally, administering hepatitis B vaccination and immune globulin to newborns significantly decreases infection risk, the doctor advised.

–IANS

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