Aims/hypothesis The aim of this work was to assess the association between diabetes and risk for infection-related hospitalisation and mortality.
Methods We conducted a prospective cohort analysis of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Diabetes was defined as a fasting glucose ≥7 mmol/l or non-fasting glucose ≥11.1 mmol/l, self-report of a diagnosis of diabetes by a physician, or current diabetes medication use. Hospitalisation for infection was ascertained from hospital discharge records. Participants were followed from 1987–1989 to 2019.
Results We included 12,379 participants (mean age 54.5 years; 24.7% Black race; 54.3% female sex). During a median follow- up of 23.8 years, there were 4229 new hospitalisations for infection. After adjusting for potential confounders, people with (vs without) diabetes at baseline had a higher risk for hospitalisation for infection (HR 1.67 [95% CI 1.52, 1.83]). Results were generally consistent across infection type but the association was especially pronounced for foot infection (HR 5.99 [95% CI 4.38, 8.19]). Diabetes was more strongly associated with hospitalisation for infection in younger participants and Black people. Overall infection mortality was low (362 deaths due to infection) but the adjusted risk was increased for people with diabetes (HR 1.72 [95% CI 1.28, 2.31]).
Conclusions/interpretation Diabetes confers significant risk for infection-related hospitalisation. Enhancing prevention and early treatment of infection in those with diabetes is needed to reduce infection-related morbidity and mortality.