Diabetics found to suffer increased risk of infections

Patients with diabetes were at an increased risk of severe infections and infection-related death compared with the general public, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

  • A team of researchers at the University of St George’s London pooled data from 102,493 English primary care patients aged 40 to 89 years old who had a diabetes diagnosis since 2008.
  • The research team noted that 5,863 of these patients had type 1 diabetes, while 96,630 had type 2 diabetes. These numbers were compared with  203,518 healthy matched controls.
  • The experts then determined the cohort’s infection rates between 2008 and 2015, which were obtained from primary care and linked hospital and mortality records. The rates were compared across 19 individual infection categories.
  • The scientists used Poisson regression in order to estimate the incidence rate ratios of infection between diabetes patients and the healthy controls. The incidence rate ratios were adjusted for age, sex and smoking habits as well as body mass index and deprivation.
  • The results showed that diabetes patients had higher overall infection rates than their healthier counterparts. According to the researchers, the highest incidence rate ratios observed were for bone and joint infections, sepsis, and cellulitis.
  • The findings also revealed that the incidence rate ratios for infection-related hospitalizations were 3.71 for patients with type 1 diabetes and 1.88 for patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • Likewise, data from a direct comparison of diabetes types showed that patients with type 1 diabetes had significantly higher adjusted risk of infections than patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • Furthermore, the findings revealed that 6 percent of infection-related hospitalizations and 12 percent of infection-related deaths could be directly associated with diabetes.

The findings underscore the importance of developing strategies that reduce the risk of developing severe infections and poor treatment outcomes, the researchers concluded.


Journal reference:

Carey IM, Critchley JA, Dewilde S, Harris T, Hosking FJ, Cook DG. RISK OF INFECTION IN TYPE 1 AND TYPE 2 DIABETES COMPARED WITH THE GENERAL POPULATION: A MATCHED COHORT STUDY. Diabetes Care. 2018 Dec:dc172131. DOI: 10.2337/dc17-2131

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