Nearly 50% of tuberculosis (TB) patients were found to have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a recent study on more than 800 TB patients in Tamil Nadu (TN) revealed. The study findings were released by Dr Vijay Viswanathan, Managing Director, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, and Prof. M. Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre (WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Education and Training in Diabetes).
A two-hour Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) revealed that 25.3% of TB patients had diabetes and another 24.5% had pre-diabetes. Out of the 25.3% diabetics, more than 9% were newly detected and the rest were already diagnosed with TB. Published on 26 July 2012,in the prestigious Journal PLoS – One, the study was conducted among 827 TB patients registered under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in five select TB units in TN – Jaibeem Nagar and Medavakkam (urban), Budur and Beerakuppam (rural) and Nandivaram (semi-urban) – for Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) therapy in the first quarter of 2011.
Dr Vijay Viswanathan, Managing Director, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, the study revealed that the prevalence of Diabetes among TB patients was almost double that of the general population (10.4 %). We undertook this study to ascertain the prevalence of diabetes among patients with TB. It is very significant that half the number of patients with TB were diagnosed with either diabetes or pre-diabetes.
These findings pose a great challenge for TB and Diabetes control in the country because diabetes can worsen the clinical course of TB, and TB can worsen glucose control in people with diabetes.”
This study also revealed that more men than women with TB were likely to develop diabetes. This may be due to factors such as smoking, tobacco use and alcohol consumption. It was also found that nearly half the patients with both diseases had the infectious form of pulmonary TB.
“Diabetic patients have weaker immunity and are more prone to infectious diseases than other people. Moreover, in countries where TB is prevalent, people with diabetes are three times at risk of acquiring the infectious disease. Given that the numbers of those with diabetes in India is increasing steadily and the threat of TB also looms large, it is necessary to detect patients with both the conditions to ensure that proper treatment is given for both diseases. TB patients can also be attributed to other factors, including family history, sedentary lifestyle and ageing. It is, therefore, paramount that all TB patients be screened for diabetes, as early diagnosis can help manage both the diseases,” Dr Viswanathan added.
Source: M.V. Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre