Diabetes is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. High blood sugar from diabetes can weaken the body’s immune system. As a result blood cells have an impairing ability to fight off bacterias and germs. This leads to a poor blood supply and also decreases the body’s ability to fight infections and delays the healing process of a wound. Hence people who have diabetes are more prone to all infections. 

Common Infections

Diabetic patients can be affected by common infections such as pneumonia and influenza, caused by Streptococcus pneumonia. They are also at high risk of being infected with unusual organisms including Gram-negative bacteria or fungi. Some patients even can develop health issues that include reduced blood damage to the extremities, nerve damage, and increased body vulnerability to infection. 

A recent study says that the risk is even higher among younger and Black individuals.

Other Infections

Other infections for which diabetic patients are at increased risk are:

  • Infection of the outer ear is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is also known as malignant external otitis.
  • Yeast infection on the urinary tract and also on the skin.
  • Severe infection of the sinuses and nose because of the fungus called Rhizopus oryzae. It is also referred to as zygomycosis or mucormycosis.

A Recent Study on Diabetic Patients and Infection Risks

Michael Fang, Ph.DJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland examined over 12,000 people in a community. In this cohort study, people were examined for 24 years, between 1987 to 1989 and 2019. Diabetic patients experienced a 67% increased risk of infection which led them to hospitalization compared to those who didn’t have diabetes. Foot infection was higher among people with diabetes than those people without diabetes. The study was published on August 4, in Diabetologia, which says diabetes can be linked to a 72% increased risk of infection-related mortality, though the numbers were not higher. Fang stated that they primarily concentrated on infection-related hospitalization and mortality because they were found in administrative data and they are the most critical types of outcomes. However, it is also true that diabetic patients are also at risk of milder infection. It can also affect people’s well-being and quality of life. As per Fang’s words, for better guidance on infection prevention and management, we require better knowledge on how diabetes is connected with an increased risk of infection-related issues.

Another emerging study found that diabetic patients who have better glycemic control are at lower risk of infection-related diseases. Michael Fang further added that diabetes in young people can be more aggressive when it develops in early life. In Black people, there is research in which scientists showed Black and White differences in glycemic control. Overall these findings combined with recent data on diabetes states that diabetes is a high risk of infection-related complications including the COVID-19 virus. He continued that diabetic patients are at increased risk of infection-related complications that include Coronavirus-related hospitalization and mortality. Hence, people with diabetes should be more cautious and protect themselves from the novel COVID-19 and follow all necessary safety precautions.