12 August 2015
It has long been known that hepatitis C puts sufferers at increased risk of liver damage. However, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have now discovered that the infection also raises the likelihood of heart disease.
The findings were based on a study of men that have sex with other men. While some of the participants also had HIV, another virus associated with heart disease, the link between hepatitis C and heart problems was clear even after adjusting for this factor.
Patients with hepatitis C were found to have abnormal levels of fatty deposits in their arteries, which is an established predictor of heart attacks and strokes. It is uncertain how the two factors are connected, but the researchers say a correlation is clear.
Lead author Wendy Post suggested that people with hepatitis C, who are already regularly checked for signs of liver problems, could benefit from regular screenings of glucose and cholesterol levels, as well as measuring their blood pressure and offering lifestyle advice.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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