Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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July | August 2017
 Educator Resources

Vaccines: An Important Step in Staying Healthy

By: Ashley Brooks, MPH, Health Communication Specialist, Health Communication Science Office National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Adults with diabetes have to take many steps to manage their condition including regular exercise, a healthy diet and routine medical care. One important step that is not always top of mind is vaccination, which can protect against common preventable diseases. CDC recommends adults with diabetes get an annual flu vaccine as well as stay up to date with pneumococcal, hepatitis B, and other recommended vaccines. Other vaccines may be recommended based on age, job, travel habits, and lifestyle. 

Adults with diabetes are at higher risk for serious problems from vaccine-preventable diseases. Diabetes, even if well managed, can make it harder for the immune system to fight infections, putting a person at risk for more serious complications from an illness compared to people without diabetes. 

  • Some illnesses, like influenza (flu), can make it harder to control blood sugar and sometimes causes serious complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections. 
  • Adults with diabetes have higher rates of hepatitis B than the rest of the population. Outbreaks of hepatitis B have been associated with blood glucose monitoring procedures.
  • Adults with diabetes are at increased risk for death from pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (blood infection), and meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). 

Each year, thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Despite the increased risks, adults with this condition continue to have low vaccination rates. 

For your patients with diabetes, make sure they have all the vaccines they need to protect their health. See the latest recommended adult immunization schedule.

 

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