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Tonsillectomy not linked to diabetes risk

Contrary to common belief, the removal of tonsils and adenoids in childhood is not linked to the risk of type 1 diabetes.

Tonsillectomy not linked to diabetes risk

Contrary to common belief, the removal of tonsils and adenoids in childhood is not linked to the risk of type 1 diabetes. There is an ongoing debate on how procedures like tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can get associated with the risk of type 1 diabetes. According to a commonly held belief, these 2 procedures can affect the function of the immune system in such a way that they increase a child's risk of type 1 diabetes. At the same time, there also exists a notion that states that frequent early exposure to infections may protect against type 1 diabetes. Therefore, children who undergo tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy may have a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes. To examine the correlation between tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy and the risk of diabetes, researchers at the Queen's University of Belfast, UK studied 25,488 children younger than 15 years who underwent one or both procedures between 1990 and 2003. The children were also linked to a type 1 diabetes register. The results showed little evidence of any difference in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children after tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, or either procedure. And thereby refute the argument stating that a frequent exposure to infections can reduce the risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. Therefore, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may not be associated with an altered risk of type 1 diabetes in children
Diabetes Care,
November 2007
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