Have Type 2 diabetes? Then you should probably get a flu shot each year. Those with diabetes who received a vaccination for the flu were less likely to wind up in the hospital due to cardiovascular or respiratory problems, according to a Reuters report.
For the study, UK researchers examined medical data from 125,000 people with Type 2 diabetes for a period of seven years. They found that those who received the flu vaccination had a 30 percent lower rate of hospital admission for strokes, a 22 percent lower hospitalization rate for heart failure, and a 15 percent lower hospitalization rate for pneumonia. People with chronic conditions like diabetes are at a higher risk of suffering from common flu complications, like pneumonia, bronchitis, heart attack, and stroke.
Overall, those who received the vaccination had a 24 percent lower risk of death from all causes during the study period, but researchers caution that they can’t pin that lower risk solely on flu vaccinations. For example, it’s possible those who are proactive enough to get a flu shot are also proactive about their health overall, which would certainly affect their risk of death. Researchers also weren’t able to determine in the medical records how many of those studied had undiagnosed diabetes; this would also greatly influence the risk of hospitalization or death. The American Diabetes Association estimates that roughly 28 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes in 2012 do not know they have the condition.
There is not one “flu”. Each year, variations of influenza circulate around the world. Getting the flu vaccine does not guarantee that you will not get the flu, but it does cut your risk of getting the flu during flu season by 50 percent to 60 percent, according to the CDC.
While this study provides evidence that most people with Type 2 diabetes should get the flu vaccine, there are some who should not, including people who have had a severe allergic reaction to ingredients found in the flu vaccine. Some people with compromised immune systems should also talk with their healthcare provider before getting the vaccine. You can find a complete list from the CDC of those who should consider avoiding the flu shot here.
For everyone else, it might be good to get it done sooner rather than later.
Want more news on Type 2 diabetes? Subscribe to our newsletter here.