Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause inflamation of the liver, which if chronic, can lead to chronic liver disease, which in turn can be serious or even fatal. About 4 million people in the United States have been infected with the virus, and as many as half do not even know they have the infection. About 80% of those who do have the disease do not show symptoms, and in those who do show symptons, the symptoms may not appear for 10-20 years or longer – long enough to perhaps have severe liver damage.
There could be good news for people with Hepatitis C based on a recent study. Coffee drinkers who consume three or more cups per day seem to have a lower risk of disease progression than non-coffee drinkers.
The study was led by Dr. Neal D. Freedman of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and published in the November Journal of Hepatology. For the study, 766 participants completed a survey of their coffee and tea consumption, and were monitored over the course of three and a half years. The researchers found that the risk of progression of the disease declined as the amount of coffee consumed increased, up to where those who drank three or more cups a day were 53% less likley to see a progression of the disease. There was not such a finding with respect to tea drinkers.