Duo Diseases: How Tuberculosis Poses A Considerable Risk To Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that forms from many strains of mycobacteria that attack the lungs. Although the disease primarily affects the lungs, other parts of the body can be affected also. Tuberculosis can get into one’s body by breathing in air from a cough or sneeze of a person infected with the disease, and this is the most common method of transmission of the disease. The elderly, infants and people with already weakened immune systems are the individuals who are most at risk for developing tuberculosis. Tuberculosis affects 9.4 million people and kills approximately 1.7 million worldwide every year. It is a major health issue in low and middle-income countries in the regions of Africa and Asia, which have a high incidence of people with diabetes. Due to the growing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, this poses a challenge to controlling the spread of tuberculosis also. In many low to middle-income countries, Type 2 diabetes is not as easily controlled as it is in the United States.
Scientists have, for a long time, believed that tuberculosis poses a huge risk to individuals with diabetes. Research suggests that people infected with tuberculosis have a lifetime risk of falling ill due to the disease. In several studies, it was determined that individuals who have Type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis do not respond as easily to treatment. The body seems to build a resistance to treatment, or takes longer to respond to any anti-tuberculosis medication. This poses a serious risk to anyone with both diseases, and especially to those who have Type 2 diabetes because of the effects of both diseases on the body.
Treatment for tuberculosis varies, depending on whether the disease itself is active or latent. People with latent tuberculosis have it in their bloodstream, but the bacteria are not active and thus, symptoms are not being displayed. Treatment for this form of tuberculosis is easier to administer than treatment for active tuberculosis. Medications such as isoniazid and rifampin are typical drugs given to an individual who has latent tuberculosis. Active tuberculosis can also be treated, but the treatment regimen tends to take longer and the drugs administered are more potent. Patients have several options, but if the person with tuberculosis also has Type 2 diabetes, that can complicate matters even further due to the severe health risk.
To definitively prove that tuberculosis has a potentially deadly effect on people with Type 2 diabetes, researchers continue to study certain populations of people. In one study performed by the World Health Organization, roughly 1,250 patients were studied and the scientists found that the patients with diabetes had a drastically higher death rate while undergoing any type of treatment associated with tuberculosis. This showed that individuals taking medications for both Type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis must stick to the instructions and specifications to avoid other complications. To effectively manage both diseases, it is essential that they be detected early enough in order to begin the necessary treatment regimen, and get it properly stabilized.