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Gastroenterology. 1984 Sep;87(3):688-94.

Diabetes mellitus in chronic active hepatitis and cirrhosis.


One hundred consecutive patients with nonautoimmune chronic active hepatitis (51% HBsAg-positive), 50 patients with cirrhosis (38% HBsAg-positive), 25 patients with chronic persistent hepatitis, and 118 patients with hepatoma who were seen at this hospital were reviewed to determine the prevalence and characteristics of glucose intolerance and diabetes in these conditions. Diabetes (fasting serum glucose greater than 7.8 mmol/L, 140 mg/dl on two separate occasions) was present in 8% of patients with chronic persistent hepatitis and mild chronic active hepatitis, 44% of patients with severe chronic active hepatitis, 40% of patients with cirrhosis, and 15% of patients with hepatoma, compared with 7% of all other patients aged 35 yr or over, undergoing liver biopsy. Compared with this high prevalence of diabetes in liver disease, only 3% of diabetic patients referred to the hospital diabetic clinic had chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. Glucose tolerance was similar in chronic active hepatitis and cirrhosis and was characterized initially by basal hyperinsulinemia, normal basal glucose levels but elevated serum glucose following glucose loading, and evidence of insulin resistance. We suggest that the high prevalence of diabetes in chronic active hepatitis and cirrhosis in Saudi Arabia is due to the insulin resistance of chronic liver disease acting over many years in a population with a high genetic predisposition to diabetes.

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