It is not only infectious diseases that are lethal for the African continent; today, diabetes mellitus (DM), too, is threatening communities. A chronic disease caused by defects in insulin secretion, action or both, DM seems to have a severe impact on people suffering from tuberculosis (TB), with dire consequences in terms of the mortality rate due to relapses, recidivism and re-activation of the infectious disease. DM also increases the risk of immune deficiency and respiratory tract infections, thereby making it easier to contract TB.
An optimal treatment strategy for DM/TB comorbidity has yet to be identified. Patients affected by both diseases are often treated in the same manner as those with TB alone, with treatment failure due to altered responses by patients’ immune systems because of the amount of glucose present in their blood.
Prevention, treatment, research and innovation are all critical for finding an effective solution to the management of DM/TB comorbidity.