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Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: Hepatitis C and peripheral neuropathy


 allison S - Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:23 am

My 75 year old mother was diagnosed with Hepatitis C about 2 months ago. It is believed that she contracted this during a blood transfusion during a mastectomy for breast cancer back in the 70's. About 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, which was attributed to a chemical sensitivity, as she was not a diabetic, nor was she a drinker. After some research, I have discovered that peripheral neuropathy is oftentimes a symptom of cryoglobulinemia. So, my question is, could her peripheral neuropathy have been misdiagnosed, meaning that her Hepatitis C became active almost 10 years ago? And, if this is so, what does that mean for her prognosis now? She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C after her doctor ran blood tests to determine why her peripheral neuropathy seemed to be worsening, and her energy level was lagging.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:00 am

User avatar Hello -

Since peripheral neuropathy is often idiopathic (of no known cause), it would be sheer speculation to guess at whether or not the hep C was active ten years ago or not. It seems unlikely, but of course is possible. Many people have it for years before they are finally diagnosed, but there is no correlation between duration of its presence in the body and the prognosis from the time it is actually diagnosed.

Idiopathic peripheral neuropathy can be related to cryoglobulinemia, but this is very difficult to prove, especially so long after the fact.

The bottom line is that the issue is moot. Hep C is managed, often quite effectively, although it can certainly have its ups and downs. IPN is very common among people in their 60s and beyond, and is also treatable if it causes nerve pain. Each is managed symptomatically. You can safely regard them as two separate entitites, even if there could be proven a long-past connection at this point.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you and your mother. Please stay in touch with us here as needed.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:11 am

User avatar I hope your mother is feeling better. Please keep us updated.

Best regards,

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