Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Recently, researchers from Taiwan have found out that the diabetic population faces increased risks of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after undergoing medical treatment (triple or quadruple therapy) for the Helicobacter pylori infection. This 2022 study was titled “Effects of Helicobacter pylori treatment on the incidences of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel disease in patients with diabetes mellitus” and was published in PLoS ONE.
This study revealed that after H. pylori therapy, the diabetic population is at an increased risk for autoimmune diseases like lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, vasculitis, pemphigus, and Sicca syndrome. In addition, the diabetic population also faces increased risks of developing IBD types, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis requiring treatment with Asacol or azathioprine. Moreover, in this study, the effects were more pronounced in younger patients than in older patients.
What Are The Implications Of This Study For The Diabetic Population?
The diabetic population faces many known additional health risks. This study adds one more to the list – an increased risk of autoimmune diseases and IBD after undergoing triple/quadruple medical therapy for H. pylori infection. This study implies that the diabetic population must be aware of the additional risks of medical therapy for H. pylori infection.
Nonetheless, the treatment for H. pylori in the diabetic population in this study produced an advantage in terms of reduced all-cause deaths. This was attributed by the authors to decreased deaths from gastric cancers and cardiovascular diseases. The authors pointed out that H. pylori infection is known to increase the risk of gastric cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which can be effectively countered by medical therapy.
The medical therapy for H. pylori in the diabetic population can be thus equated with a double-edged sword. While it raises the risk of autoimmune diseases and IBD, it decreases the same for gastric cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
What Are The Take-home Messages Of This Study?
This study highlights that the diabetic population has a higher risk profile than the general population for many conditions. More research is needed to determine the specific reasons for this increased risk and to develop targeted interventions to reduce these risks. This study adds the raised risk of autoimmune diseases and IBD in the diabetic population after undergoing anti-H. pylori therapy to the list of risks.
The study authors thus concluded that the pros and cons of triple or quadruple therapy for H. pylori must be carefully evaluated in the diabetic population before administering anti-H. pylori therapy. They argue that more research is needed to determine the most effective treatment regimen for patients with diabetes and H. pylori infection. This evaluation should especially consider the age, given the more pronounced additional risks in the younger diabetic population.
PLOS One. (2022, May 3). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/
Sheu, N. W., Huang, S. H., Wu, D. C., Kao, J. Y., & Lin, K. D. (2022). Effects of Helicobacter pylori treatment on the incidences of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel disease in patients with diabetes mellitus. PloS one, 17(5), e0265323. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265323