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TB patients are prone to diabetes, says study

T.S. Atul Swaminathan
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At M.V. hospital for Diabetes :Dr. Vijay Viswanathan and Dr. Neeraj Bedi launching the free testing for diabetes for TB patients.Photo: K.V. SRINIVASAN
At M.V. hospital for Diabetes :Dr. Vijay Viswanathan and Dr. Neeraj Bedi launching the free testing for diabetes for TB patients.Photo: K.V. SRINIVASAN

T.S. Atul Swaminathan

M.V. Hospital for Diabetes has launched a free testing for diabetes for TB patients — Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) — at M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, and M.V. Centre for Diabetes, Mylapore and Perungudi. Medical Superintendent of M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Dr. Neeraj Bedi, announced about the launch on August 2.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Vijay Viswanathan, MD, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes and president of Prof. M. Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre, Royapuram, said that a recent study has revealed that 50 per cent of tuberculosis patients in Tamil Nadu are diabetic/pre-diabetic.

“More than 80,000 people in the State are living with tuberculosis,” he said.

The six-month research conducted by M.V. Hospital for Diabetes and Prof. M. Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre, on 827 TB patients under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Government of India, in three districts — Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur — revealed that 49.8 per cent of them have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“Another nation-wide study conducted in 2011 reported that the prevalence rate of diabetes and pre-diabetes to be 10.4 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively among the general population in the State,” Dr. Viswanathan said.

“We undertook this study to ascertain the prevalence of diabetes among patients with TB. More than half of those suffering from TB were diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes,” he added.

The study, published in the prestigious journal - PLOS ONE, poses a challenge for TB and diabetes control in the country.

The study tells that diabetes can worsen the clinical course of TB and the latter can worsen the glucose control in people with diabetes. It also tells that people suffering from TB are likely to have diabetes due to factors such as smoking, chewing tobacco and consumption of alcohol.

“Diabetic patients have weaker immunity and are more prone to infectious diseases than other people. Moreover, in countries where TB is prevalent, people with diabetes are three times at risk of acquiring infectious diseases. With the number of diabetic patients increasing steadily and the threat of TB looming large, it is necessary to screen patients with both the conditions to ensure proper treatment,” Dr. Vishwanathan pointed.

TB patients can undergo a free test for diabetes here.

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