An influenza vaccination may improve outcomes in people who have diabetes, according to a study conducted over nine consecutive flu seasons. 

People with diabetes diagnoses who contract the flu are known to have an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, wrote Daniel Modin, from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. When Modin and colleagues analyzed the health records of more than 240,000 patients with diabetes over time, they found that getting vaccinated for flu was significantly tied to better outcomes on multiple fronts. 

The number of patients vaccinated ranged from 24% to 36%. During follow-up, 3.4% died of all causes. Those who received flu shots reduced their risk of all-cause death, cardiovascular mortality, and death from heart attack or stroke. They also had a lower risk of hospital admission for acute diabetes complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia or coma.

The flu appears to increase the risk of blood clots in people with atherosclerosis (a buildup of arterial plaque), a common problem among diabetic patients. In fact, people with diabetes are three times more likely to die of flu complications than their peers without diabetes, recent studies have found. 

Full findings were published online this week in Diabetes Care.