A recent study has found that diabetics have a three to five times higher risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) than those without the disease.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) analyzed 233 patients with TB living in Texas and Mexico along the border to confirm the findings.
"With the increase in diabetes patients in TB-endemic areas, our findings highlight the re-emerging impact of diabetes mellitus, known as type 2, on TB control in regions of the world where both diseases are prevalent," said Blanca Restrepo, associate professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health.
The research suggested that diabetes depresses the immune response, which in turn facilitates infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and/or progression to symptomatic disease.
"This research confirms results from several other studies showing an increased risk of TB in people with diabetes and means that it is important that clinicians actively seek to diagnose diabetes in people with TB, and vice versa," said Knut Lonnroth, medical officer in the Stop TB Department at the World Health Organization.
According to Restrepo, a combined diagnosis of TB and diabetes is becoming more evident in the Hispanic population, but this may also be the case in American Indians and African-Americans.
The study is published in the current issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.