Thyroid and Hepatitis C

by Bernard Baruch Zakheim


Does Hepatitis C Affect My Whole Body?

Well conducted research has shown that Hepatitis C virus infection can also promote immune attacks on the thyroid. The research has shown that both thyroid imbalance and thyroid anti-bodies are much more common in patients with Hepatitis C virus infection than in normal people. In fact, nearly 10% of patients with Hepatitis C have a thyroid disorder and positive thyroid anti-bodies.

The reason is that the Hepatitis C virus shares some molecular similarities with the thyroid and this may make the immune system mistakenly attack the thyroid gland in response to the presence of foreign molecules coming from the virus. The virus could also be infecting the thyroid cells and that could trigger the attack of the immune system on the thyroid gland.
Alfa-interferon is a medication widely used to treat infections and cancer. This medication is also used to treat chronic Hepatitis C. It also happens that the medication Interferon can also trigger an auto-immune thyroid disease. So patients with Hepatitis C virus who are already pre-disposed to having an auto immune thyroid disease and are taking Alpha-Interferon are at higher risk of having an auto-immune thyroid condition.

It has been estimated that thyroid disorders may occur in as many as 20-40% and a significant thyroiditis may occur in 5-10% of patients treated with Alpha-Interferon. Interferon can cause both Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves Disease. If a person has positive anti-thyroid antibody prior to being treated with interferon, the risk of having a significant thyroiditis becomes quite high.

Interferon treatment can even trigger an auto-immune thyroiditis in people without thyroid anti-bodies. So if one has a genetic vulnerability to auto-immune thyroid disease, the use of interferon therapy makes the likelihood of having an auto-immune thyroid condition become more significant. Interferon can also cause a thyroiditis not mediated by the immune system but instead by a destruction of thyroid cells. This medication can directly destroy thyroid cells and makes thyroid hormone pour in our system. This ends up causing hyperthyroidism. Often the hyperthyroidism is followed by hypothyroidism as in Silent Thyroiditis. This is interpreted as a direct toxic effect of the medication.

Thyroid Disease: Dr. Val Jones




Adstract 2010

Thyroid Disorders in Hepatitis C Patients Treated or Not With [alpha]-Interferon and Ribavirin

Endocrinologist:
May/June 2010 - Volume 20 - Issue 3 - pp 122-124
doi: 10.1097/TEN.0b013e3181dfcb01
Original Study

Thyroid Disorders in Hepatitis C Patients Treated or Not With [alpha]-Interferon and Ribavirin
Santos, Sandra Regina Xavier MD*; Ferreira, Marcelo Simão PhD†; Borges, Aércio Sebastião MD†; de Melo Costa Pinto, Rogério PhD‡; Pereira Mendonça Fernandes, Maria Luiza MD*; Jorge, Paulo Tannús PhD*

Abstract
α-interferon and ribavirin are the drugs of choice for treating Hepatitis C, but may trigger thyroid disorders as a major complication. Several studies have shown a variation in the prevalence (1%–35%) of this association influenced by geographical distribution, genetics, and iodine intake of the population.

The objective of this study was to analyze thyroid disorders in patients with hepatitis C in treatment or not with α-interferon and ribavirin.

We evaluated the frequency and pattern of thyroid disorders in 25 patients with hepatitis C in treatment with α-interferon and ribavirin (Genotype 1), 62 patients with hepatitis C without treatment (Genotype 2) and 82 patients without hepatitis C (control group) measuring thyroid-stimulant hormone, antiperoxidase antibodies (anti-TPO), and anrtithyroglobulin (anti-TG).

Hypothyroidism was more frequent in hepatitis C patients under treatment (36%), while the frequency of thyroid antibodies was not different in the 3 studied groups, respectively (12% in Genotype 1; 8.06% in Genotype 2, and 17.07% in control group).

It was not possible to demonstrate the higher prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in hepatitis C carriers under treatment with α-interferon and ribavirin; even though hypothyroidism is more frequent in this group. Patients with hepatitis C treated with these medications should be screened for thyroid dysfunction.

In 2009 data published at Medscape by Crystal Phend :

Excerpt:"Screening and proper management of thyroid diseases in patients with diabetes or hepatitis C virus infection may help prevent hepatocellular cancer," they said. These case-control study findings shouldn't be surprising, the researchers wrote in the May issue of Hepatology.
Hypothyroidism has been linked to chronic liver diseases and implicated in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is considered a predisposing condition for liver cancer.
This may result from the essential role of thyroid hormones in lipid mobilization and degradation and fatty acid oxidation, Dr. Hassan's group said. When they're out of balance, "all of these conditions may enhance the susceptibility to chronic inflammation, DNA damage, and hepatocellular carcinoma development."
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Personal Experiences With Thyroid Disease in Men and Women

From the 2009 Awareness video



Thyroid Disease In Women
Complete Article @ Columbia Edu
"Hypothyroidism occurs most frequently in women entering menopause, which typically occurs in their late 40s and early 50s"

"According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), millions of women with unresolved menopausal-like symptoms, even those taking estrogen, may be suffering from undiagnosed thyroid disease. While symptoms such as fatigue, depression, mood swings, and sleep disturbances are frequently associated with menopause, they may also be signs of hypothyroidism. A survey done by the AACE showed that only 1 in 4 women who have discussed menopause and its symptoms with a physician were also tested for thyroid disease. The thyroid plays a role in regulating overall body metabolism and influences the heart, brain, kidney, and reproductive system, along with muscle strength and appetite".
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Thyroid Disease In Men
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease in Men
"The thyroid hormone is one of many necessary hormones for men's health. Although the majority of information regarding thyroid health is focused on women, men also suffer from thyroid dysfunction and the associated symptoms".
Thyroid disorders cause sexual dysfunction in men is detected by the Scientists. Sexual dysfunction in men is caused by many reasons like heart diseases, emotional disorders, excess of steroid intake, and dysthamia. Researchers have claimed that one of common cause for the sexual dysfunction in men is the thyroid disorders

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