Diabetes Awareness Month in November highlights the heightened susceptibility of diabetes patients to infections. Explore the key reasons behind their increased infection risk and the importance of infection prevention.
The month of November is distinguished as Diabetes Awareness Month. This month serves as an opportunity to illuminate critical facets of diabetes care that extend beyond the conventional narratives. This year, our focus sharpens on a pivotal aspect that significantly impacts the well-being of individuals contending with diabetes: infection prevention.
Per the CDC, in 2021, it was estimated that 11.6% of the US population had diabetes, or 38.4 million people. As we delve into the complexities of managing diabetes, it becomes imperative to underscore the heightened vulnerability of diabetes patients to infections. The intricate interplay between compromised immune function and the physiological intricacy of diabetes mellitus (DM) creates an environment where infections can pose severe risks and complications.
From minor skin infections to more severe respiratory and urinary tract infections, diabetes patients face a heightened susceptibility that demands focused attention. In a study published in Diabetes Care, it was estimated that 6% of infection-related hospitalizations and 12% of infection-related deaths were attributable to diabetes. This study was a retrospective cohort study that compared primary care patients in England, ranging from 40 to 89 years old, with Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) and with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) to control subjects without diabetes. All patients were matched based on age, sex, and practice characteristics.
Patients with diabetes face an increased risk of infections due to a combination of factors related to the complex interplay between the immune system and the metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes. Here are several key reasons why individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to infections:
Understanding and addressing these factors is crucial in managing diabetes effectively and reducing the risk of infections. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, maintaining good hygiene practices, and promptly addressing any wounds or infections are essential components of diabetes care to mitigate these risks.
By spotlighting infection prevention in diabetes patients, we aim to bridge the gap between awareness and actionable insights. As we unravel the intricacies of this critical facet of diabetes care, we aspire to equip health care professionals, caregivers, and individuals with diabetes with the knowledge needed to fortify defenses against infections, ultimately fostering a healthier and more resilient diabetic community.