Type 1 and type 2 diabetes increases risk of serious infections, new research shows

by Barbara Hewitt on January 29, 2018

People with diabetes have an increased risk of suffering serious infections or death compared to the general public, new research has shown.

The British study analysed the electronic GP and hospital records of more than 100,000 adults aged 40 to 89 years with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and compared them to those without the condition.

(A and N photography/Bigstock.com)

The researchers from St George’s, University of London, estimated that 6% of infection related hospital admissions, such as for pneumonia, and 12% of infection related deaths among adults could be attributed to diabetes.

‘We have confirmed that people with diabetes are more prone to all infections, particularly serious infections like bone and joint infections, endocarditis and sepsis,’ said Dr Iain Carey, of the university’s Population Health Research Institute.

‘We have also shown that infections among people with diabetes cause substantial ill health and need for NHS treatment. Despite this, current NHS guidance for type 2 diabetes does not specifically mention infections or recommend ways to reduce this problem,’ he pointed out.

‘Better management of diabetes patients, through improvements in control of their blood sugar levels for example, or more rapid recognition of infections by patients and carers, may help prevent future infections,’ he added.

The large size of the study enabled the researchers to show that diabetes patients with the less common type 1 diagnosis were at even greater risk of being hospitalised and dying from infection.

Over a seven year period, patients with type 2 diabetes were twice as likely to be hospitalised with an infection as patients without diabetes but for type 1 diabetes this difference was nearly four times.

The study also investigated more common infections seen by GPs, and found that skin infections such as cellulitis were twice as common in patients with diabetes.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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