What About The Immune System,; Are We More Susceptible To FLues, Pneumonia, etc.

By Latest Reply 2009-03-26 18:34:20 -0500
Started 2008-12-02 17:26:56 -0600

How weak is our immune system; Will we be more likely to contract the common colds, flues, pneumonia, bronchitis and infections then if we weren't dealing with diabetes?

32 replies

jsd2005 2009-03-26 18:34:20 -0500 Report

If your diabetes is caused from an auto-immune disorder, then I would say yes, you are definitely more at risk. Protect yourself and wash your hands frequently.

Frustrated mom
Frustrated mom 2009-03-18 15:31:19 -0500 Report

I think that it is important to get a flu shot…Just to be on the safe side…My son gets one every year. I hear they may soon have a pneumonia shot?

jsd2005 2009-03-12 11:48:06 -0500 Report

This really depends on whether you have have actually been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. There are antibodies they can test for that will give you an answer to this. Certainly diabetes can be caused by an auto-immune

i think most probably the concern is not related to the immune system, but just the reality that any illness can cause a diabetics blood sugar to go crazy. Sinus infections can be especially troublesome as they are chronic and can be long lasting.

I recommend any flu or pneumonia or other vaccine you can get to be gotten as it can certainly reduce the risk of certain infections. Just remember that the flu injection may only cover one or two different types of flu. There is a variety of flu's and you are still susceptible to some, but the vaccine covers the highly contagious and troublesome ones.

2009-03-13 07:12:16 -0500 Report

I just heard on the news yesterday that it is not too late to get a flu shot. Get it now, because of the way the flu is just going ramped.

SkipT 2009-03-10 19:19:13 -0500 Report

I have to stress the importance of vitamin D. As diabetics we are low. To boost my immune system I take 2000 units of vitamin D a day. I NEVER get the flu or catch colds. There are many news articles on this site stressing the importance of vitamin D.

rbergman 2009-01-27 11:50:39 -0600 Report

In my case I don't seem to get sick with flu and such (knock on wood) but since my daughter has auto-immune failure she had to get both the flu and pneumonia shot to prevent her from getting either. She also has severe allergies and takes 2 medications per day for this on top of her thyroid medication. I just think it depends on the person and the severity of the diabetes or issues that led to the diabetes.

tabby9146 2009-03-10 12:40:52 -0500 Report

I'm glad this question was asked, because I have often wondered this myself. I never got around to getting a flu shot this year, but I will early next year, and always. I know that this was recommended in my diabetes classes. i've probably had it a few years (my doctor says it was caught early and is considered mild) but I have not noticed any increase in getting sick. I get sinus infections because of my allergies. I have not had the flu since I was a teen and I've only had one virus in the last few years, that was a few months before I was diagnosed and I was fine. I hardly ate for 24 hours but if my sugar had been too bad, I would have had some symptoms.

caragypsy 2009-01-23 20:13:27 -0600 Report

I learned a lot from this one, thought I would bring it back up again.

2009-01-27 06:08:28 -0600 Report

Thanks so much, Cara,
I did not get my flu or pneumonia shots, and with COPD, that is a big no-no. My excuse; well, when I try to get it, I am already sick and they won't give it to me.

I will not go out unless I am so sick that I have to see the doctor; obviously, too late,

Now I have bronchial-pneumonia.

It really does pay to listen to you doctors' and your friends advice.


Debe Pendice
Debe Pendice 2009-01-27 06:19:22 -0600 Report

I have got the flu shot since it has been out. My endo's insist you get this shot. Now with my transplant it is a must. I am on my PCP list for this shot every year when he gets his first batch. My clinic lets me know when they are coming out and my MD makes sure I'm 1st on the list. Until you get a real bad case of the flu, you will understand how its hard to get thos BG under control let alone keep your strenght up through all this. I have been blessed. All these years and 1 X hospitalized dued to severe dehydration and high blood sugars dued to the flu…Debe

too old
too old 2008-12-06 16:11:54 -0600 Report

I have always been more susceptible to catching colds, flu, pneumonia, etc. all my life. I have almost died from flu twice, and several times from pneumonia, especially when I was young.
Now, I stay away from crowds, and won't go to a family doctor (with little kids sniffling and coughing). Wish people would learn to use a hankie or kleenix.
I take my vitamins every day, and lots of vit. C and D in the winter.

Sparrow - 16557
Sparrow - 16557 2008-12-04 00:20:08 -0600 Report

Yes, diabetics ARE more prone to contracting the flu. It is always recommended that diabetics get the flu shot each year. Besides, the flu affects diabetics to a greater degree than nondiabetics (directly affecting the glucose levels).

kdroberts 2008-12-06 10:47:13 -0600 Report

There is no medical evidence that suggests diabetics are more prone to getting flu or colds than non-diabetics. It's one of those old wives tales that gets banded around and is almost always on the top 10 diabetes myths lists. It's what happens once you get either one that can cause problems.

One such myth list is from the ADA. #6. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-myths.jsp

Sparrow - 16557
Sparrow - 16557 2008-12-06 16:00:58 -0600 Report

I stand corrected on the suseptability issue. However, as also noted in the same reference, the flu AND colds can be extremely harmful to diabetics because of what I mentioned earlier… it affects the blood sugar.

Also, because recent studies have linked diabetes to the immune system, caution is still wise.

ldywind 2008-12-11 00:13:00 -0600 Report

I think that we are more susceptible. I don't get ill too often and do take a flu and pneumonia vaccine. But, when I do get sick, I'm really sick. It seems that flu and colds are much harder on me than when I was younger, before the diabetes was diagnosed. I was so sick one time, that my husband had to stay home and care for me. I needed a breather to breath, and for some reason, kept asking how my babies were. I don't remember doing that, but my husband said I did. I had a tumor removed from my parotid gland last year, plus half of the gland. That was hard on me, and what made me angry (hadn't been in a hospital since my hysterectomy at age 31,) is that I contracted strep throat while in the hospital. I was sent home after three days, but ended up in the hospital another week because of the strep. I've never had strep throat, although my precious daughter seemed to pick it more than usual, growing up. I was extremely unhappy about that. Hospitals have changed so, and the care isn't what it used to be. I don't wish to repeat another hospital visit ever again!

caragypsy 2008-12-03 20:01:04 -0600 Report

I don't understand this, is it more likely or not. People are saying two diffent things. Cara

kdroberts 2008-12-03 20:15:43 -0600 Report

Being susceptible to illnesses is the same, no more likely to get the flu or a cold than anyone else. The consequences if you do get sick can be a lot worse for a diabetic though.

kdroberts 2008-12-03 08:56:19 -0600 Report

Most of the studies I've seen suggest that diabetics are no more susceptible than non-diabetics. However, the impact of the illness can be much worse for diabetics because it can play havoc with blood sugar, hence the reason they take extra precautions.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2008-12-03 09:24:32 -0600 Report

This is also my understanding. Fortunately, my son has only had 1 bad case of the flu since his diagnosis. But that one experience was horrifying. He couldn't keep anything down yet his blood sugars were sky high. So it becomes this impossible balancing act to try to bring his blood sugars down (to avoid ketoacidosis) but not have him crash too low because he couldn't eat anything.

2008-12-03 14:28:48 -0600 Report

That's right, the doctor keeps calling me with this latest infection to make sure my sugars are staying in control or at least close. So far so good!!!

vgarrison 2008-12-03 22:31:15 -0600 Report


That is awsome that your doctor cares enough to call you on a regular basis to check up on you…if I never called my doctor again..he would never notice…LOL


too old
too old 2008-12-06 16:15:14 -0600 Report

WOW! Where can I find a doctor like that? My doctor is always cancelling my appointments for some reason or another. Getting my prescriptions is a long standing battle with her.

Avera 2008-12-02 21:31:18 -0600 Report

It is strange that you should mention this. When I was reading the news today, there was an article that talked about this. I'm not sure exactly where I read it because I go to several sites to read the news. I do remember that it said how important it was to get our flu shots.

2008-12-02 20:33:04 -0600 Report

Everyone is different, so there is no way to state factually what our immune systems are like. It is always recommended that someone with Diabetes take extra precautions when it comes to cold, flu, and pneumonia and other infections as some people have difficulty healing and it's difficult to tell who will be affected by this. Doctors generally go to extra measures when Diabetes is in the mix. I am recovering from surgery and I'm battling my second infection in a month, due to Diabetes? They can't say for sure but they treat me quickly and very thoroughly when symptoms change.