A recent study suggests that people who have been afflicted with tuberculosis are often affected with diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes in persons with TB is almost double that of the general populace. A survey of 827 respondents registered with Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) five centres in Tamil Nadu found that one-fourth of them suffered from diabetes.
“Diabetics who suffer tuberculosis are easily diagnosed for the condition but the reverse is not true. Many persons with TB who become diabetic are unaware of their condition and they do not respond well to TB drugs. When TB relapses, it is a serious threat as these people can transmit the infection,” Dr Vishwanathan said.
“In countries where TB is prevalent, people with diabetes are at three times the risk of acquiring the infectious disease,” he added.
Dr Vishwanathan suggested that all those being treated for TB be screened for diabetes, as early diagnosis will help manage both diseases. “The government has a national programme for control of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke (NPCDS). The RNTCP should be integrated with the NPCDS so that everyone who has TB is also screened for diabetes,” he added.