Infections

infection

How do infections occur as a complication of diabetes? Attachment, adhesion or invasion of microorganism in the body is called as infection. Diabetes that is poorly controlled seems to decrease the ability of white blood cells to fight infection. As a result, people with diabetes can get infected more easily.

Diabetics are especially at risk of getting the following types of infections: bladder or kidney infections; thrush, gum disease, and other mouth infections; fungal infections; infections of the vagina; wound infections; and foot infections. Even a small cut on the foot, for example, may not heal well and may develop into a potentially life- threatening problem.

How are the infections treated?
First your blood glucose must be controlled. Then your health care provider will prescribe specific drugs (antibiotics) which will kill the microorganisms. Your infection will take longer to heal than an infection in a nondiabetic. Your health care provider may want you to have blood tests and frequent follow-up visits.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Be aware of your increased risk of infections and the serious complications of infections that are not treated.
  • Watch for sores in your mouth or on your lips. White, painful patches on your tongue or in your mouth may be thrush. Thrush is a fungal infection that can spread internally to other parts of your body if it is not treated.
  • Tell your health care provider about any discharge from the vagina or penis, changes in color or odor of your urine, and burning or painful urination.
  • See your health care provider right away if you suspect something is wrong (for example, you have a fever) or if a minor injury is not healing. Immediately report any tingling, numbness, or change in color or sensation in your fingertips and toes.

How can I avoid getting infections?
  • Never go barefoot. Even minor cuts can become seriously infected.
  • Examine your feet with a mirror at the end of each day to make sure there are no reddened areas, cuts, or scrapes that could become infected. You may see cuts or sores you cannot feel because of nerve damage.
  • After bathing, carefully dry between your toes to prevent skin breakdown. Use lotion to moisturize the skin. Skin that is dry and cracked offers openings for bacteria to enter and cause infection.

Do not try to treat corns or calluses by yourself. Especially do not treat them with razorblades or chemical products.