Diabetic people who get the flu vaccine may have a lower risk for cardiovascular or respiratory problems, a new study suggests.
Dr. Eszter Vamos, lead author and public health researcher at the Imperial College London, said that,
The potential impact of influenza vaccine to reduce serious illness and death highlight the importance to renew efforts to ensure that people with diabetes receive the flu vaccine every year.
Vamos and a team of researchers analyzed seven years of data on around 125,000 people in England who suffered from type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to aging and obesity, and is the more common type of diabetes, affecting around 90% of all patients.
The researchers found that flu vaccination was associated with a 30% lower hospital admission rate for stroke, 22% lower rates for heart failure and 15% lower rates for influenza or pneumonia, Fox News reports.
In an email, Vamos said that the most severe flu complications happen in senior adults and people who have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
To better understand how flu vaccines affect hospitalization rates and mortality in diabetics, the researchers studied data on patients’ weight, smoking history, gender, age and whether or not they were under medication for other conditions. The researchers also looked at records during the flu season and during summer, when the flue is less common.
Patients who got the flu vaccine showed to have a 24% lower death rate from all causes in the time period the study reviewed.
Some of the study’s limitations were that they were unable to assess the possibility that some people had undiagnosed diabetes, and that the people who got vaccinated were just generally healthier than those who skipped their vaccines, the study noted.
The findings do highlight the importance and benefits of vaccination, adding weight to the proven concept of vaccination as a form of protection, not just for the flu itself, but from complications in other chronic conditions too.