Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how the body turns food into energy. People living with diabetes who are also infected with tuberculosis have a much greater risk of developing TB disease.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious health threat, especially for people living with diabetes. Two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease. People with latent TB infection are not sick because the body is able to fight TB bacteria to stop them from growing. People with TB disease are sick with active TB because the body cannot stop the bacteria from growing. People living with diabetes who are also infected with TB are more likely to develop TB disease and become sick with TB.
Someone with untreated latent TB infection and diabetes is more likely to develop TB disease than someone without diabetes. Without proper treatment, diabetes and TB can increase health complications.
- In 2021, 7,860 new TB cases were reported in the United States.
- In 2020, 22.5% of persons with TB in the United States also had diabetes, as reported to the National TB Surveillance System.
- 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes.
- The percentage of adults with diabetes increased with age, reaching 38.0% among those aged 65 years or older.
Untreated latent TB infection can progress to TB disease. TB disease, without treatment, can progress from sickness to death.
Fortunately, treatment options are available for people with diabetes who also have either latent TB infection or TB disease. If a person is diagnosed with TB infection, further testing is required to rule out TB disease. People with either latent TB infection or TB disease can be effectively treated.
Before beginning treatment for TB disease or for latent TB infection, TB patients should talk to their doctor about any other medication they are taking, including medicine for diabetes. Some medications used to treat TB might interact with medicine used treat diabetes.