Researchers at Ajou University Hospital have found that people who have diabetes have a considerably higher incidence of infection-related hospitalizations and deaths than those who do not.
The team, led by Professors Kim Dae-jung, Choi Young-hwa and Kim Eun-jin at the hospitals, conducted the research after several studies showed that people with diabetes are vulnerable to infection.
The study compared the risk of infection-related hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and deaths between the people with diabetes and those without the condition.
The team conducted a cohort study of 66,426 diabetes patients and 132,852 age-sex-region-matched non-diabetes patients from the general population using the National Health Insurance Service database.
The researchers followed up on the cohorts for nine years and classified infections into 17 categories and used Poisson regression, with adjustment for household income and other comorbidities, to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and compare infection-related hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths.
Compared to non-diabetes controls, the diabetes group had a higher risk of the adjusted incidence rate of almost all types of infections, including hepatic abscess, central nervous system (CNS) infections, and skin and soft tissue infections other than cellulitis.
The diabetes group also had a higher risk of ICU admission and death due to skin and soft tissue infections other than cellulitis, CNS infections, and bone and joint infections.
“The study showed diabetes had a risk of infection-related hospitalizations for all types combined and for 16 of the 17 specific types of infection,” the team said. “This increased risk persisted even after adjusting for potential confounders such as the presence of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.”
Further studies are needed to investigate the increasing incidence and severity of infectious diseases caused by diabetes in Korea and the resulting socioeconomic impact, the team added.
It also stressed that the mechanism and risk factors that cause the infectious disease associated with diabetes require further investigation.
The results of the research were published in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, under the title "Diabetes and the Risk of Infection: A National Cohort Study."