Do you resort to antibiotics for a toothache or a headache or a fever? Be warned!
Too much intake of antibiotics could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study has warned.
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, researchers found.
A person developed diabetes, which was characterised by high blood sugar levels, when the individual could not produce enough of the hormone insulin or insulin did not work properly to clear sugar from the bloodstream.
"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's authors, Kristian Hallundbak Mikkelsen, of Gentofte Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark.
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"Although we cannot infer causality from this study, the findings raise the possibility that antibiotics could raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes. 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," said Mikkelsen.
As part of the population-based case-control study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers tracked antibiotic prescriptions for 170,504 people who had Type 2 diabetes and for 1.3 million people who did not have diabetes.
The researchers identified the subjects using records from three national health registries in Denmark.
People who had Type 2 diabetes filled 0.8 prescriptions a year, on average. The rate was only 0.5 prescriptions a year among the study's control subjects. Individuals who filled more prescriptions were more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Many types of antibiotics were associated with a higher risk of diabetes, but there was a stronger link with the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin V.
Past research has shown that antibiotic treatments can alter the bacteria in an individual's gut. Studies suggest certain gut bacteria may contribute to the impaired ability to metabolise sugar seen in people with diabetes.