When influencing the body over a sustained period of time, diabetes can give rise to a variety of complications. These can include nerve damage, kidney damage, heart attack and stroke. However, a new study in America has found that type 2 diabetics are also at a greater risk of contracting tuberculosis. The study team added that the condition would likely be more severe and contagious amongst diabetics.
The study was conducted by experts at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and is to be published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection. Type 2 was indicated as a major TB risk factor.
Blance Restrepo, an assistant professor of epidemiology involved in the study, said: “Patients who have diabetes tend to present a more complicated, advanced tuberculosis. If a TB patient has diabetes, it takes longer for them to respond to treatment … it takes longer to clear the bacteria from sputum, and they’re more likely to be infectious to the community for a longer period of time.”
The susceptibility of diabetics to the disease could be due to immune system impairment. The study is the first to clearly link the two conditions, prompting Dr. McCormick, the regional dean for UT to say: “If this link continues to strengthen and grow, diabetes could be another underlying disease that increases the worldwide epidemic of tuberculosis. If we can lower the rate of diabetes, we could help with the local fight against tuberculosis.”

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