July 24, 2014
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Infection

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Study: Diabetes linked to higher risk of infections

The risk for common infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections is higher for people with diabetes, research shows.

"(Diabetes) patients…are at an increased risk for lower respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, and skin and mucous membrane infection," states the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The large, 12-month study, conducted by Dutch researchers, monitored three groups of participants: 705 adults with type 1 diabetes, 6,712 individuals with type 2 diabetes and almost 19,000 people without diabetes.

The results uncovered some notable variations among study participants.

For instance, people with diabetes had a greater chance of getting lower respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial and fungal skin infections. With the exception of fungal skin infections, people with type 1 diabetes had a slightly higher risk for most infections. However, the risk for upper respiratory tract infections (such as those in the ears or throat) was essentially equal for everyone, whether or not they had diabetes.

The researchers, led by Dr. Leonie Muller, noted that prior to this study, minimal research had been done on the linkage between diabetes and common infections. "Clinical data on the association of diabetes...with common infections are virtually lacking, not conclusive, and often biased," according to the article.

Muller emphasized the need for doctors to speak to their patients about the risks and how to deal with them. "(Doctors) should educate their diabetes patients about the increased risk, how to reduce that risk and when to consult with their general practitioner," Muller said.

"Studies are warranted into management of such infections in patients with diabetes," the study recommends.


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