People with type 2 diabetes or elevated blood sugar are at increased risk of dying after being hospitalized for pneumonia, a new study hints.
"Our results showed that glucose (blood sugar) on admission is a very important clinical indicator among patients with pneumonia," lead author Dr. Jette B. Kornum, from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark in Aalborg, Denmark, and colleagues report in the journal Diabetes Care.
The findings come from a population-based cohort study of nearly 30,000 adults who were hospitalized, for the first time, for pneumonia between 1997 and 2004.
Overall, nearly 10 percent of patients had type 2 diabetes — a disorder that is closely associated with obesity. The investigators found that death rates at both 30 and 90 days after admission were higher in diabetics than in non-diabetic patients: 20 percent vs. 15 percent and 27 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively.
On admission to the hospital, a high blood sugar level (14 mmol/L or greater) raised the risk of death by 46 percent in diabetic patients and by 91 percent in those without diagnosed diabetes, the report indicates.
The findings suggest that in patients with pneumonia, much of the elevated illness and death seen with diabetes is mediated through the presence of high blood sugar levels, the authors conclude.
"Our results also suggest that current hospitalization routines and surveillance during and after pneumonia-related hospitalization of patients with type 2 diabetes could be improved," they add.