Is Type 2 Diabetes Considered Immunocompromised?

Is T2DM immunocompromised

The cardiovascular risk factors of a person who develops Type 2 Diabetes are equivalent to one Myocardial Infarction. But is an individual with Type 2 Diabetes also considered immunocompromised?

The term “immunocompromised” refers to a person’s immune system’s inability to fight infections.

This could be due to a variety of factors, including various health conditions or medications that the individual is taking.

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a major public health issue worldwide. High blood glucose levels brought on by insufficient insulin synthesis by the pancreas are a sign of this metabolic disorder.

Furthermore, the immunological response to elevated blood glucose levels and the presence of inflammatory mediators made by adipocytes and macrophages in adipose tissue lead to an inflammatory response.

This low and chronic inflammation destroys pancreatic beta cells, resulting in inadequate insulin production and hyperglycemia.

It is hypothesized that diabetes-related hyperglycemia weakens the immune system, making it less efficient at halting the spread of foreign pathogens in diabetic subjects.

As a result, it is well-recognized that diabetic patients are more prone to infections. Infections and accompanying comorbidities will become more common as the prevalence of T2D rises [ref].

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Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes if you are Immunocompromised

Support for the immune system is even more important for those who have diabetes. Bacterial, Viral, and Fungal infections are more prevalent in diabetic individuals.

In addition, the severity of symptoms, disease progression, and the outcomes of infections in diabetic patients is very poor [ref].

There is little you can do to boost your immunity if you have diabetes. However, if you are getting recurrent infections, you may need to:

  • Improve your glucose control
  • Get yourself vaccinated against common pathogens
  • Improve your diet and perform regular exercise.

Some people with diabetes may be shocked to learn how their food and muscle health might affect the immune system, even though many already consider excellent nutrition to be a part of overall well-being and blood sugar control.

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The Relationship between Diabetes Management, Immune System, and Muscles.

The function of muscles in movement is well established, and maintaining muscle mass is crucial for preserving strength and function as we age.

There is data that suggests muscles are also involved in immunological function. Compounds produced and released by muscles are crucial for the development, activation, and movement of some immune cells.

The body uses amino acids following trauma or illness, and muscles are a major source of these nutrients.

A recent study reveals that loss of muscle mass is linked to weakened immunity and infections.

And is also revealed that low muscle mass and insufficient protein consumption may reduce the body’s reaction to an injury or infection.

Everyone should put their muscle health first to avoid losing muscle as they age. However, those with diabetes need to be more careful.

It is because diabetes has a negative impact on muscle quality, strength, and muscle loss. Sarcopenia is a term used to denote muscle wasting and weakness as a result of muscle loss. It is common is individuals with:

  • long-standing and uncontrolled diabetes
  • cancers
  • chronic infections such as HIV and Tuberculosis.

Maintaining insulin sensitivity and body weight through healthy muscles is essential for regulating blood sugar levels and managing diabetes.

People with diabetes can take measures to maintain healthy muscles and immune systems, such as exercising regularly and consuming a balanced diet.

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Boosting immunity if you are type-2 diabetic

The methods to increase immunity if you have diabetes and are immunocompromised are as follows.

  • Exercise

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Help Muscle Health and Immunity.

Regular exercise – aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

  • Healthy diet

A well-balanced diet is essential for staying healthy, supporting muscles, and assisting diabetics in managing their blood sugar.

Important actions to promote the health of your immune system and muscles through nutrition include:

  • Maintaining a nutritious diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Eating enough foods high in protein, such as poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy.
  • Aim for 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal for adults.
  • However, people over 65 may require more protein than people younger than them, particularly those who have experienced a health setback.
  • Putting an emphasis on high-quality meals with minerals like vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin D that support a strong immune system.
    • Vitamin B6 can be found in bananas, chicken, salmon, tuna, potatoes, and green vegetables (with the skin).
    • Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits like oranges and strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
    • Vitamin E can be found in almonds, sunflower and safflower oils, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach.
    • Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, and dairy products all contain zinc.
    • Whole wheat products, nuts, and seeds all contain magnesium.

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It’s not always simple to consume enough of all the nutrients required to sustain immunological and muscular health.

It’s not simple for diabetics who also need to keep up with their medication and routines and who feel they don’t have enough time to prepare meals and snacks in advance.

Studies have indicated that diabetes-specific nutritional supplements when used as part of a healthy lifestyle program, can assist fill in the nutritional gap and supply the essential nutrients.

Thus improving health outcomes for those who have diabetes. These include improved blood pressure, better glycemic control, decreased or maintained body weight, and lower mortality in diabetic patients who are severely ill.

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  • Aim to reduce your stress with type-2 diabetes

Long-term stress causes abnormalities in immune cell activity and inflammation. Also, long-term psychological stress might reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections naturally.

Moreover, exercise, meditation, or yoga can help lower your stress levels and maintain a healthy immune system.

  • Get Vaccinated:

Vaccination is very important for the prevention of infections. Vaccines are dead germs or parts of a germ that are injected into the body so that the body can induce an immune response against that foreign particle.

When a real living bacteria or virus enters the body, the body already knows it and is prepared to launch an immune response against the bacteria or the virus.

This way, the bacteria or virus is rapidly cleared from the body.

Common vaccinations which all diabetic individuals should undergo include:

  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine
  • Haemophilus influenza vaccine, and 
  • COVID vaccines

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In Conclusion:

People with Type 2 Diabetes are generally immunocompromised. They need to seek medical attention earlier in case they develop a fever or any symptom suggestive of an infection.

Furthermore, they should get vaccinations up-to-date, eat healthily, and do regular exercise, apart from improving their glycemic control.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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