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Hepatitis C and Kidney Disease: The Hidden Connection

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, mostly caused by viruses known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. It can also be caused by drugs, alcohol, or genetic and immune problems.

The hepatitis C virus is primarily transmitted through blood, with most infections resulting from exposure to contaminated blood due to unsafe injection practices, inadequate health care procedures, unscreened blood transfusions, injection drug use, and sexual activities that involve blood exposure.

Among the gang of viruses mostly hepatitis C is linked with kidney disease in addition to damage to the liver, musculoskeletal, immune system, hematopoietic system, and skin, and rare cases can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) or acute kidney injury (AKI).

Hepatitis C has seven genotypes, numbered 1 through 7. In the Indian subcontinent, genotypes 1 and 3 are most common. Knowing your genotype is essential for managing chronic infections and developing future vaccines.

Hepatitis C virus infection

All adults over 18 should be tested for chronic hepatitis C at least once. Annual tests for hematuria (blood in urine) and proteinuria (protein in urine) in HCV-infected patients can help detect kidney issues early.

If you have chronic hepatitis C, it’s crucial to check your kidney function annually because:

  • Hepatitis C can cause liver dysfunction, leading to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.
  • These conditions can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure, as well as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular problems.
  • Hepatitis C can trigger immune reactions that damage the kidneys, causing glomerulonephritis, where the kidney’s filters become inflamed and damaged, leading to CKD.

No, not always. It may occur many years or even decades after HCV infection. 

To check if your liver is healthy, please watch the video 👇👇

Fibroscan to test the health of liver
  • Nephritic Syndrome: Inflammation of the glomeruli, with symptoms like reduced urine output (oliguria), protein in urine (proteinuria), elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels, cola-colored urine, and sometimes swelling (edema).
  • Nephrotic Syndrome: Damage to glomeruli causing massive protein in urine (proteinuria), generalized swelling (edema), low blood albumin (hypoalbuminemia), and high blood lipids (hyperlipidemia).

To know more about the impact of kidney disease on liver health please click the blog below 👇👇

Impact of Kidney disease on liver health

Factors that induce HCV in dialysis patients –

Hepatitis C virus and Dialysis patients

Your life is at risk and HCV impact on your survival. You will have an increased risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in the presence of HCV.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Therefore, proper management and avoiding behaviors that spread the disease are the best ways to prevent hepatitis C.

The timing of treatment (before and after transplantation) should be determined by the nephrologist.

Early intensive treatment of HCV can reduce the risk of death from liver, cardiovascular, cancer, and kidney diseases.


2024-05-19 15:06:37
Surajit Chakraborti

Good presentation, matter appears complicated


Thank you for your feedback! We try to provide clear and comprehensive information. If any part seems complicated, please let us know, and we'll be happy to simplify or clarify it for you. Your understanding is our priority.

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Dr Pratim Sengupta's Team (Nephro)
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