Diabetes sufferers at higher risk for TB

Health experts now report that diabetes sufferers are up to three times more likely to develop the lung infection tuberculosis.

Experts from 19 Pacific nations and territories and the United States recently held a conference in Palau to discuss how and why the diseases appear to converge. They are calling for a greater commitment from their states to help prevent the onset of the illnesses, according to

Kerri Viney, the secretariat of the Pacific Community's TB advisor, pointed to lifestyle changes as the primary reason for the increasing number of diabetes cases that have occurred in the region over the past century.

"We're not as active, we're sedentary, and nutrition has changed significantly, and consequently there's a large increase in overweight and obesity, and then these people often go on to develop diabetes," Viney said, reports.

The experts have concluded that the impaired immunity caused by diabetes leads to a greater susceptibility for TB infection.

Viney said that TB detection rates have improved since 2000, when they approached 63 percent of total cases. In 2010, detection rates increased to approximately 70 percent.

The experts who gathered at the Pacific Stop TB and Pacific Island TB Controllers Association meeting drafted the Ngarachamayong Commitment on Public Health Convergence, which recognizes that TB has a close association with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, according to

Nearly 150 representatives of the attending nations, as well as the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease signed the Ngarachamayong Commitment.