Pneumonia vaccination important for diabetics

NEW YORK Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:17pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers from Denmark say they have "strong evidence" that diabetes is associated with a 25 percent to 75 percent increase in the relative risk of hospitalization due to pneumonia.

Writing in the journal Diabetes Care, the researchers say these results "emphasize the value of influenza and pneumococcal immunization, particularly for patients with longer diabetes duration, and the importance of improved glycemic control to prevent pneumonia-related hospitalization among diabetic patients."

Using health care databases for northern Denmark, Dr. Jette B. Kornum from Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg and colleagues identified 34,239 individuals with a pneumonia-related hospital admission and 342,390 individuals from the general population who served as a control group.

The analysis of these data revealed that individuals with diabetes had a 26 percent higher risk of pneumonia-related hospitalization compared with those without diabetes.

The risk of pneumonia-related hospitalization was increased by 4.4-fold in subjects with type 1 diabetes and by 1.2-fold in those with type 2 diabetes.

The longer duration of diabetes with poor glycemic control, the higher the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia became, Kornum and colleagues observed. Compared with the subjects without diabetes, having diabetes for 10 years or more was associated with a 37-percent greater risk.

Diabetes combined with an A1C level of 9 percent or greater, a standard measure of blood glucose, which should be 7 percent or lower, was associated with a 60 percent increased relative risk of pneumonia-related hospital admission, while diabetics who had an A1C of less than 7 percent had a 22 percent risk, compared with nondiabetic subjects.

"Our data extend previous studies suggesting that diabetes is a risk factor for pneumonia," Kornum and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, August 2008.

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