Objectives: This study assessed the impact of diabetes on mortality associated with pneumonia and influenza among non-Hispanic Black and White US adults.
Methods: Data were derived from the National Mortality Followback Survey (1986) and the National Health Interview Survey (1987-1989).
Results: Regardless of race, sex, and socioeconomic status, people with diabetes who died at 25 to 64 years of age were more likely to have pneumonia and influenza recorded on the death certificate than people without diabetes who died at comparable ages (odds ratio [OR] = 4.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.3, 7.7). For those 65 years and older, the risk remained elevated among Whites with diabetes (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.7, 2.7) but not among Blacks with diabetes (OR = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.6, 1.7). It was estimated that about 17,000 (10.3%) of the 167,000 deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza that occurred in 1986 were attributable to diabetes.
Conclusions: The impact of diabetes on deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza is substantial. Targeted immunizations among people with diabetes may reduce unnecessary deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza.