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High glucose levels 'raise pneumonia death risk'

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Pneumonia patients with raised blood glucose levels are at a higher risk of death, according to new research.

A European study found that people admitted to hospital with community acquired pneumonia but without pre-existing diabetes were less likely to survive if they had high levels of glucose in their blood.

Researchers looked at 6,891 patients with an average age of around 60. All participants had been admitted to hospital or a private practice with community acquired pneumonia.

The participants’ blood glucose levels were measured at the time of admission, and the number of deaths was calculated at 28, 90 and 180 days.

Results show that increasing glucose levels were linked to a higher risk of death in all patients at 28 and 90 days.

After 90 days, patients without diabetes and normal glucose levels on admission had the lowest mortality rate at just 3%.

The mortality rate rose to 10% among people who did not have diabetes but displayed raised glucose levels.

The researchers concluded that patients with high glucose levels when community acquired pneumonia is diagnosed may need intensified care to reduce their risk of death. Patients with diabetes had the highest mortality rate at 14%, regardless of their glucose levels.

The authors added: “mortality starts to increase at only slightly elevated levels that remain below the defined threshold for overt diabetes” and that glucose testing and close glucose monitoring after discharge are necessary to diagnose diabetes and to prevent further complications.

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