Antibiotic use may increase diabetes risk

London, Aug 28 (IANS) Frequent use of antibiotics might increase your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, a new study warns.

Danish researchers have found that people who developed Type-2 diabetes tended to take more antibiotics in the years leading up to the diagnosis than people who did not have the condition.

“In our research, we found people who have Type-2 diabetes used significantly more antibiotics up to 15 years prior to diagnosis compared to healthy controls,” said one of the study authors Kristian Hallundbæk Mikkelsen from Gentofte Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark.

“Although we cannot infer causality from this study, the findings raise the possibility that antibiotics could raise the risk of Type-2 diabetes,” Mikkelsen noted.

Another equally compelling explanation may be that people develop Type-2 diabetes over the course of years and face a greater risk of infection during that time, he pointed out.

For the study, the researchers tracked antibiotic prescriptions for 170,504 people who had Type-2 diabetes and for 1.3 million people who did not have diabetes.

Individuals who used more antibiotics were more likely to be diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes.

A person develops diabetes, which is characterised by high blood sugar levels, when the individual cannot produce enough of the hormone insulin or insulin does not work properly to clear sugar from the bloodstream.

Past research has shown that antibiotic treatments can alter the bacteria in an individual’s gut and that certain gut bacteria may contribute to the impaired ability to metabolise sugar seen in people with diabetes.

This may explain why higher rates of antibiotic use are associated with the development of Type-2 diabetes, but more research is needed to explain the findings, Mikkelsen said.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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