Why diabetes risk is higher for HIV-positive adults


*Type 2 onset, worsening may be early sign of pancreatic cancer

People infected with the virus that causes Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) may be more likely to develop diabetes, new research suggests.

In the study, the prevalence of diabetes was almost four percent higher among HIV-positive adults than the general population.Researchers in the study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care examined survey responses of 8,610 HIV-positive participants in the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP). They also analyzed data from about 5,600 people in the general public who took the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Of the MMP participants, 75 percent were men and nearly 60 percent were aged 45 or older. About 25 percent were obese; about 20 percent also had hepatitis C (HCV); and 90 percent had received antiretroviral therapy within the past year.

Of NHANES participants, about half were men aged 45 years and older; 36 percent were obese; and fewer than two percent had hepatitis C.The study found that 10 percent of MMP participants had diabetes. Of these people, nearly four percent had type 1 diabetes, about half had type 2, and 44 percent had an unspecified type of diabetes. In comparison, slightly more than eight percent of the general population had diabetes.

Diabetes among the HIV-positive adults increased with age, obesity and longer HIV-positive status.These findings don’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship. But the researchers noted that better treatment has enabled people to live longer with HIV, which may increase their risk for other chronic health issues, such as diabetes.

Also, another new research suggests that developing or worsening type 2 diabetes could be an early sign of pancreatic cancer.Researchers analyzed data from nearly a million patients with type 2 diabetes or pancreatic cancer in Italy and Belgium. Half of all pancreatic cancer cases were diagnosed within a year of patients being diagnosed with diabetes, the findings showed.

The investigators also found that type 2 diabetes patients whose condition deteriorated rapidly requiring more aggressive treatment were also at increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

The study findings, which don’t prove an association between type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer, were presented Monday at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) in Amsterdam. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers because it’s hard to detect at an early stage and there are few effective treatments, the researchers explained.

Less than one percent of pancreatic cancer patients live 10 years after diagnosis, the study authors noted in the news release. In 2012, about 338,000 cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed worldwide, and 330,000 died of the disease.

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