Hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be a disease of the liver, but increasingly scientists have come to understand that the virus can also have insidious effects elsewhere in the body. (These are known as extrahepatic effects because they occur outside of the liver.) For example, numerous research papers have established that hep C is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as with being on dialysis. Even when individuals do not have hep C, CVD is a major cause of sickness and death among those with late-stage CKD and occurs at a higher rate than among those with good kidney function. That said, in recent years, researchers have identified hep C itself as a risk factor for death among those on dialysis.
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