PUBLISHED: 5:05 PM on Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Diabetes and flu: A dangerous combination
If you have diabetes, the flu can cause more than a few aches and pains.

Diabetics are three times more likely to die from complications resulting from influenza and pneumonia. Even so, only half of people with diabetes get an annual flu shot, and even fewer get immunized against pneumococcal disease, the most frequent cause of pneumonia.

If you have diabetes and have not yet received a flu shot this year, public health officials are encouraging you to get this simple protection soon.

It is safe and convenient to give people with diabetes a pneumococcal shot at the same time they receive their flu shot.

If you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot since there are a few people who shouldn't get vaccinated.

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and of the 20.8 million Americans with diabetes, about one-third do not know they have the disease.

Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of the disease.

African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians are at a higher risk for developing diabetes.