Diabetes-Related Infections

If you have diabetes, you're more at risk for infections, especially if your diabetes is uncontrolled. High sugars impair the body's ability to fight infections in a number of ways. Also, with loss of feeling in your limbs, wounds are more likely to develop from trauma and can also heal more poorly compared to wounds in a non-diabetic patient. Such examples include diabetic foot infections, skin and skin structure infections (impetigo, cellulitis, etc.), and bacteremia (diabetic patients are more prone to spontaneous staphylococcal bacteremia). Treatment depends on the cause and type of infection.

Sources of Infection and Managing Exposure

Due to nature of insulin injections, your injection site could be a possible area of infection. It's important to monitor your injection sites closely and to make sure you sufficiently swab with alcohol before and after your injection. This will help kill any bacteria around the area before the injection, and help keep it clean afterward as well. If you begin to notice any sign of infection around your injection site, contact your physician immediately.

Your feet and other extremities are more susceptible to infection as well. Because diabetes damages the nerve endings, injuries to the feet and extremities may go unnoticed for a long time. Additionally, because diabetes also prevents your body's immune system from working like it should, small injuries left unattended can quickly become infected.

The most important part of managing infections with diabetes is staying vigilant and observant. Because diabetes can damage nerve endings, you may not always feel the same discomfort you'd expect with a sore or infected area. Visually inspecting trouble spots and maintaining proper hygiene are essential to preventing the start and spread of infection. If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling, contact our office immediately.

Treatment Options

If diagnosed quickly, infections can be treated easily with antibiotics and other medication. In some cases, IV therapy may be required. If infection reaches the bloodstream, also known as bacteremia, it can cause very serious health complications. Identifying infections early reduces the likelihood that the infection will spread. In the most severe cases, amputation of an infected appendage may be required to prevent the spread of the infection to the rest of the body or the heart. Our physicians have decades of experience in diagnosing and treating diabetes-related infections, and if caught early, they can help prevent any serious health implications and can get you back to enjoying your normal quality of life.