Living with diabetes can make any other health conditions you live with worse. It can also increase the risk of developing several more. One condition that needs to be on that list is tuberculosis (TB). The combination of TB and diabetes can be lethal and is on the rise in the U.S.
“Today, the biggest risk for tuberculosis is not HIV/AIDS, which led to a surge in cases in the late 1980s, but diabetes. Diabetes impairs the immune system and leaves a person who has been exposed to TB much more likely to develop the active disease,” said Dr. Susan Fisher-Hoch recently in an article with frightening statistics in cases involving both TB and diabetes together.
Very few healthcare providers are aware of the risk of TB in patients with diabetes, and do not understand that the TB disease can be much more severe in those living with diabetes. Because diabetes is increasing at such a rapid pace in the U.S. the number of TB cases has nearly doubled as well. The best solution to slow the spread of the TB disease is to educate healthcare professionals and those living with diabetes about the risk of TB and what treatments are available for those already living with TB. “Diabetes could reverse the achievements of several decades in TB control,” according to Dr. Fisher-Hoch. But with awareness, proper research and good education we can potentially prevent a future crisis.