Millions of diabetics could die of tuberculosis

A third of the world's human population is infected with a dormant tuberculosis bacteria, primarily people living in developing countries. The bacteria presents a lifelong TB risk. Recent research out of the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that the risk of tuberculosis breaking out is four times as likely if a person also suffers from diabetes. Meanwhile, as a diabetic, a person is five times as likely to die during tuberculosis treatment. The growing number of diabetics in Asia and Africa increases the likelihood that more people will succumb to and die from tuberculosis in the future.

A research group from the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen has just completed a major research project in Tanzania in which they have documented that diabetes is far more widespread than previously thought.

The risk of dying from tuberculosis is increased if a person also has diabetes. In the past, diabetes was most commonly associated with the Western world while tuberculosis was more widespread throughout the .

"Our studies show, firstly, that diabetes is hastily advancing in , not just in Asia, but in Africa as well. And secondly, that as a diabetic one is four times more at risk of developing tuberculosis and five times as likely to die under tuberculosis treatment," reports PhD student and physician Daniel Faurholt-Jepsen who has written his doctoral dissertation on the basis of the study.

With the dramatic increase in the spread of diabetes, even among the poorest, there is a need to strengthen prevention. The results of the study demonstrate that diabetes is a severe threat to the control of tuberculosis:

"Tuberculosis kills more than a million people each year. The figure may be much higher in the future if nothing is done now. We should develop better international guidelines for a combined treatment of diabetes and tuberculosis patients as well as better diagnostic methods, which can cheaply and effectively diagnose diabetes among patients," emphasises Daniel Faurholt-Jepsen.

More information: Daniel Faurholt-Jepsen defended his PhD dissertation 'The Double Burden: The role of diabetes for tuberculosis risk, manifestations, treatment outcomes and survival' on July 6 at the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Science.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Experts say Toronto unprepared for TB

Feb 24, 2008

Health experts warn there could be an outbreak of tuberculosis in Toronto, which reportedly lacks a centralized system of TB clinics.

Tuberculosis treatment may be shortened

Sep 02, 2009

According to Dutch researcher Hanneke Later-Nijland, it may be possible to shorten the duration of treatment for tuberculosis. Due to the long duration of treatment, not every patient sees it through. Partly because of this, ...

Tuberculosis treatment may be shortened

Aug 17, 2009

According to Dutch researcher Hanneke Later-Nijland, it may be possible to shorten the duration of treatment for tuberculosis. Due to the long duration of treatment, not every patient sees it through. Partly because of this, ...

Recommended for you

Magnesium cuts diabetes risk

12 hours ago

Getting enough magnesium in the diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for those who already show signs of heading that way.

Personalised treatment for stress-related diabetes

Oct 14, 2014

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden are testing a treatment for type 2 diabetes which targets the disease mechanism itself - and not just the symptoms. For the first time, knowledge about the individual patient's genetic ...

Sensors to simplify diabetes management

Oct 13, 2014

For many patients diagnosed with diabetes, treating the disease can mean a burdensome and uncomfortable lifelong routine of monitoring blood sugar levels and injecting the insulin that their bodies don't ...

User comments