Evaluating ethnic variations in the risk of infections in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: a matched cohort study
People living with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) are at higher infection risk, but it is unknown how this risk varies by ethnicity, or whether the risk is similarly observed in people with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (“prediabetes”).
Research Design and Methods
We included 527,151 patients in England with T2DM and 273,216 with prediabetes, aged 18-90 and alive on 1st January 2015 on the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Each were matched to 2 patients without diabetes or prediabetes on age, sex and ethnic group. Infections during 2015-9 were collated from primary care and linked hospitalisation records. Infection incidence rate ratios (IRR) for prediabetes or T2DM were estimated, unadjusted and adjusted for confounders.
People with T2DM had increased risk for infections presenting in primary care (IRR=1.51, 95%CI 1.51-1.52) and hospitalisations (IRR=1.91, 1.90-1.93). This was broadly consistent overall within each ethnic group, though younger White T2DM patients (age <50) experienced a greater relative risk. Adjustment for socio-economic deprivation, smoking and co-morbidity attenuated associations, but IRRs remained similar by ethnicity. For prediabetes, a significant but smaller risk was observed (primary care IRR=1.35 1.34-1.36, hospitalisation IRR=1.33, 1.31-1.35); these were similar within each ethnicity for primary care infections, but less consistent for infection related hospitalisations.
The elevated infection risk for people with T2DM appears similar for different ethnic groups and is also seen in people with prediabetes. Infections are a substantial cause of ill-health and health service use for people with prediabetes and T2DM. This has public health implications with rising prediabetes and diabetes prevalence.