A group of researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine has discovered a new link between obesity and Clostridium difficile infection, abbreviated as CDI. The details of the study have been published in an online journal Emerging Infectious Diseases for further reference. The bacterial disease develops in the intestine and is one of the most common causes of diarrhea and abdominal pain. The infectious condition is a growing problem in inpatient healthcare units. In fact, CDI incurs around $ 1 billion in a large number of health centers. It severely affects the hospitalized patients and causes an array of abdominal disorders. The number of discharged patients with CDI has doubled from 139,000 to 336,600 during the last 10 years. This is highly concerning for healthcare givers since this condition develops in apparently healthy patients. For this reason, medical investigators are on the lookout for certain unknown factors that may contribute to the increasing number of cases of CDI.
In this new study, three batches of CDI-affected patients were examined. The first group included candidates who were admitted with no signs of infection risk while the second batch consisted of patients who had been exposed to the various facilities of hospitals or clinics. Patients with initial symptoms of CDI formed the third group. The main aim of taking patients with no medical care exposure was to understand the implication of other risk factors.
According to author Nahid Bhadelia, MD, MALD, an associate hospital epidemiologist at BMC and assistant professor of medicine at BUSM, the research was singularly conducted to find out the association of the infection with both obesity and inflammatory bowel syndrome. The findings of the study revealed that the community-onset infection occurs four times more in obese patients than in normal individuals. Patients with prior exposure to medical aid also had a lesser risk of CDI. Sufferers of obesity were more likely to have inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, this group of patients had a higher possibility of becoming overweight in the near future. The ratio of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes in the intestinal microbiota is also higher in obese adults suffering from CDI. Since CDI and obesity share a strong association, care must be taken to curb accumulation of fat in the body. However, further studies are required to know the exact mechanism underlying the relationship.