High Blood Sugar May Make Pneumonia Deadlier

WEDNESDAY May 30, 2012 -- Elevated blood sugar levels may help predict death in pneumonia patients, researchers say.

The new study included nearly 6,900 patients, average age 60, with community-acquired pneumonia who were admitted to hospitals and private practices in Austria, Germany and Switzerland between 2003 and 2009.

Community-acquired pneumonia, one of the leading infectious diseases in industrialized nations, is a major cause of illness and death, according to background information in the study published online May 29 in the journal BMJ.

Compared to patients with normal glucose levels at admission, those with elevated levels had a higher risk of death within 28 and 90 days. The higher a patient's glucose levels, the greater the risk of death, the investigators said in a journal news release.

The death rate within 90 days was 3 percent for patients without diabetes and normal glucose levels, 10 percent for those without diabetes but with elevated glucose levels, and 14 percent for patients with diabetes, regardless of their glucose levels on admission, the study revealed.

The findings show the necessity of glucose testing and close glucose monitoring after patients with community-acquired pneumonia are discharged from hospital, in order to diagnose diabetes and to prevent further complications, concluded Dr. Philipp Lepper, of the University Hospital of Saarland in Germany, and colleagues.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about pneumonia.

Posted: May 2012


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