March is National Kidney Month, a time to show support for the 26 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease, including by raising awareness of the connection between chronic kidney disease and chronic hepatitis C.
Chronic kidney disease is characterized by the gradual loss of kidney function, but it may also mean an increased risk for chronic hepatitis C. Because chronic HCV is spread by contact with blood, people with CKD may be at a greater risk for contracting the disease if they have received blood transfusions or are on hemodialysis. An estimated 1 out of 10 hemodialysis patients has chronic hepatitis C infection.
For those with chronic kidney disease, being infected with chronic hepatitis C is associated with a higher risk for serious complications, including the accelerated loss of kidney function, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and even death. As a result, it is important for people with chronic kidney disease to ask their doctor about getting screened for hepatitis C. Those who are diagnosed with HCV should talk to their physician about the right treatment plan.
Historically, it has been difficult to achieve high chronic hepatitis C cure rates in patients with advanced kidney disease. Now, however, there are therapies available that have greatly improved treatment efficacy for patients with chronic hepatitis C, including those with chronic kidney disease.
As part of National Kidney Month, Dr. Howard Monsour, practicing gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Granbury, Texas, is available to discuss the connection between chronic hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease, and why it’s important for those living with chronic kidney disease to get screened for hepatitis C.