Every month we learn of another disease that people with diabetes are at risk for. We need to let our patients know that too much glucose can reduce their immune system and put them at risk for most diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, senility, hepatitis B, and everything and anything from cancer to athlete’s foot. This can damage their quality of life. An online survey, sponsored by pharmaceutical company Merck, involved over 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Respondents were twice as likely to identify an increased risk of kidney disease and heart disease, which are common diabetes complications, compared with serious infection diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis or pneumococcal disease, which is the most common cause of lung infection.

Robert E. Ratner, M.D., Chief Scientific & Medical Officer at the American Diabetes Association stated in a news conference that, “These data illustrate that patients with diabetes are not fully aware of their risk of other serious illnesses, and that there is a critical communication gap between patients and their healthcare providers about the risks for serious illness, including pneumococcal pneumonia or pneumococcal disease, flu and hepatitis B for adults with diabetes.”  Adults with diabetes are roughly three times more likely to develop pneumococcal disease compared to healthy adults, but only one in three respondents were aware of this.  Less than half of those surveyed had discussed the risk factors for pneumococcal disease and other serious illness with their healthcare provider. Ratner added that healthcare professionals should initiate discussions with patients to “bridge the information gap” and ensure that risks relating to their diabetes are made clear, enabling greater preventative measures to be taken.  ADA Feb, 2017 News Release