Diabetes is associated with a 25–75% increase in the relative risk of hospitalization due to pneumonia. Hence, patients with diabetes, especially those who have had diabetes for a longer duration should be given flu and pneumococcal vaccine. It is equally important to control diabetes adequately to prevent pneumonia-related hospitalization among diabetic patients.

In the study Dr. Jette B. Kornum from Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg and colleagues identified 34,239 individuals with a pneumonia–related hospital admission and 342,390 individuals from the general population who served as a control group. The study showed that individuals with diabetes had a 26% higher risk of pneumonia–related hospitalization compared with those without diabetes. The risk of pneumonia–related hospitalization was increased by 4.4–fold in subjects with type 1 diabetes and by 1.2–fold in those with type 2 diabetes.

The maximum risk was related to longer duration of diabetes (more than 9 years) with poor glycemic control (A1c > 9%). The risk was 37% higher in diabetics of over 9 years duration and 60% higher when the A1c was over 9% as compared to 22% higher risk when the A1c was lower than 7%.

A1c is the measure of average blood sugar of the last three months and should be kept lower than 7%.