Diabetics face four times greater TB risk

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.

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University of Copenhagen researchers have just completed a major research project in Tanzania in which they have documented that diabetes is far more widespread than previously thought, according to a Copenhagen statement.

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

"Our studies show, firstly, that diabetes is hastily advancing in developing countries, 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 doctoral student and physician Daniel FaurholtJepsen, who has based his dissertation on the study.

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," he said.

"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 tuberculosis patients," emphasises FaurholtJepsen.

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