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Diabetes triggers risk of Tuberculosis and vice-versa, says NIH Scientist

New Delhi: The National Institutes of Health confirmed that diabetes and tuberculosis can both trigger the occurrence of the other. Citing the presence of a stress-induced process, NIH Scientist and Scientific Director(ICER), Dr Subash Babu on Thursday said that diabetes can increase the risk of TB and vice-versa. Both diseases can pace up each other's occurrence, the scientist clarified.

"Diabetes can also worsen TB symptoms or cause failure to respond to anti-TB treatment. There is an increased risk for TB disease to relapse even after being cured, in the presence of diabetes. With a quarter of the world's population infected by the TB bacteria, only one in ten of these people fall sick with TB. Coexistent diabetes triples the risk of manifesting TB disease in these individuals," said Dr Babu.

In Chennai, a pioneering study conducted by Professor M Viswanathan Diabetic Research Center (MVDRC) has shown that over 50 per cent of people with TB have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

ICER India, MVDRC and ICMR-NIRT have also done studies on whether TB can trigger the onset of diabetes in TB patients. Dr Babu explained, "TB can trigger a process called stress-induced hyperglycemia and hence increase diabetes risk in non-diabetic individuals".

"Several studies including many of our own clinical trials have shown the impact of diabetes on TB. TB may also increase the chances of developing severe complications in patients with diabetes" he added.

According to Dr Babu, TB is curable in diabetic patients but the chances of failing TB treatment are increased as well as the risk of falling sick with TB again.

"TB is curable in diabetic patients. However, our studies show that these people have long-lasting inflammation that predisposes them to develop TB again and therefore they need to be closely followed up for 2 years even after completing treatment."

He also said that the lungs of TB patients recover more slowly due to extensive damage caused by the presence of diabetes. Thus, having TB and diabetes is major double trouble, especially in India which has some of the highest prevalence of both diseases in the world.

While Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which attacks the lungs, Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. (ANI)

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