Study shows high diabetes prevalence among India TB cases

Researchers at the World Health Organization recently released the results of a cross-sectional survey of tuberculosis patients in the state of Kerala, India, to determine the prevalence of diabetes mellitus.

Scientists with the department of tuberculosis from the office of the WHO representative to India found that among 552 tuberculosis patients screened, 44 percent of patients had diabetes mellitus. Of the 243 patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, 128 previously knew about the condition and 115 were newly diagnosed.

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the TB patients was higher among males and patients above the age of 50. Of the patients with previously known diabetes mellitus, 84 percent showed signs of poor glycemic control.

The scientists used glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) to test the patients. Patients with a self-reported history of diabetes mellitus or with HbA1c of more than 6.5 percent were defined as diabetic.

Diabetes mellitus is a known risk factor for tuberculosis. The researchers said that routine screening of TB patients for diabetes mellitus could lead to early diagnosis, improved management and improved TB treatment outcomes.

The researchers concluded that nearly half of TB patients in Kerala have diabetes mellitus, with approximately half of the patients newly-diagnosed during the screenings. The routine screening led to a large number of diabetes mellitus cases and gave the patients earlier management opportunities for both conditions.

According to the study, the most-cost effective methods for DM screening must be established by future operational research.