Mononucleosis, or “mono,” is a contagious disease that can develop following infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). People with type 2 diabetes may have a weakened immune system, which could increase their risk of developing mono.
This article describes the link between mono and type 2 diabetes. It also outlines some risks and possible complications of mono for people with type 2 diabetes and offers some general tips on treating and preventing mono.
Authors of the study also observed that the length of time a person had diabetes impacted their likelihood of infection.
People who had developed diabetes more than 10 years prior to the study were significantly more likely to have a viral infection than those who developed diabetes less than 10 years before the study.
Body mass index (BMI) also plays a role in infection rates. People with type 2 diabetes and a high BMI are more likely to have EBV than people with type 2 diabetes whose BMI is more optimal.
Below are some of the risks and possible complications of mono for people with type 2 diabetes.
More serious mono symptoms
High blood sugar levels can compromise the function of the immune system. This means that people with type 2 diabetes may find it difficult to fight off invading pathogens, such as EBV.
Consequently, individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of developing mono and experiencing its more severe symptoms.
A minor risk of cancer
These EBV-related cancers are more common in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Examples include:
- nasopharyngeal cancer, which is cancer of the back of the nose
- fast-growing lymphomas, such as Burkitt lymphoma
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- certain types of stomach cancer
Having both type 2 diabetes and EBV can further increase a person’s likelihood of having cancer. Nonetheless, the risk of EBV-related cancers is
- getting plenty of rest
- drinking a lot of fluids to stay hydrated
- taking over-the-counter medications to help treat the following:
There is currently no vaccine to protect against mono. However, there are measures a person can take to reduce their risk of contracting EBV, including:
- avoiding close contact with a person who has mono
- avoiding sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes and utensils
- washing and sanitizing the hands regularly
People can also take the following steps to help support their immune system to be better able to fight EBV and other infections:
How to protect others
If a person suspects that they may have mono, they should take the precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others. This includes:
- staying at home and resting until symptoms improve
- washing the hands regularly
- avoiding sharing personal items with other people
- avoiding kissing others
- using barrier methods, such as condoms, during sex, as EBV can spread through sexual contact via semen
Mononucleosis, or mono, is a highly contagious disease that can develop following infection with EBV.
People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing mono and are likely to experience more severe symptoms of the condition. This is because type 2 diabetes can weaken a person’s immune system, making it more difficult to protect against EBV.
There is some evidence to suggest that people who have both type 2 diabetes and mono have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer. However, this risk remains low.
A person can decrease their risk of mono by washing their hands regularly, avoiding contact with people who have mono, and avoiding sharing personal items that come into contact with other people’s saliva.