Hepatitis C could lead to rheumatoid arthritis.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been found to cause rheumatoid arthritis (RA), even before HCV is detected. Hepatitis C can contribute to liver failure, but is also known to cause rheumatoid arthritis – inflammation of the joints. Due to the link between HCV and rheumatoid conditions, it’s important that newly diagnosed RA patients get tested for HCV, as rheumatoid symptoms can occur before HCV is even detected.
Rheumatoid diseases cause pain in the joints, muscles, and connective tissue. Joint swelling and blood vessel inflammation can occur as well. A recent study dove deeper into the connection between HCV and rheumatoid arthritis and uncovered what may link the two.
Hepatitis C virus infection linked with rheumatoid arthritis: Study
In a study published in PLoS One, researchers assessed the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in patients with HCV. Patients were studied from Taiwan, which has high rates of HCV, hepatitis B virus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Data was collected from one million patients and 249,460 patients were selected for analysis. The number of patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis was 49,892.
Hepatitis C patients were compared with 199,568 controls who did not have HCV, matched by age, sex, and calendar year. Patients did not have rheumatoid arthritis at the beginning of the study, but cases were documented as they were diagnosed throughout the course of the study.
The researchers found that chronic infection with HCV was linked to higher incidences of rheumatoid arthritis. Men were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis with HCV, compared to women. Lastly, those with hepatitis C and B were at an even greater risk for rheumatoid arthritis, compared to those who had either one.
Read Full Article: Managing hepatitis C with joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and arthralgia
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