If you are diabetic, you really need to be constantly vigilant about infections. Whether you are a type 1 or a type 2 diabetic, infections come easily and can end up taking a limb or your life. In fact, 82,000 lower limb amputations are performed on diabetics annually, according to the National Diabetes Statistics fact sheet, NIDDK, 2003, for the year 2001. Sixty percent of all amputations occur amongst diabetics.
When a diabetic has a lung infection, generally the lung won’t be removed unless there has been serious tissue death in the lung. But that doesn’t mean that a diabetic shouldn’t try to stop the process from happening in the first place.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- shortness of breath
- shaking chills
- muscle aches and pains
- fatigue, and
- chest pain that worsens with breathing or coughing
However, the older that you are, the more likely it is that you won’t have a very high fever. And some infectious agents will also produce nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
As a diabetic, any infection that you have should become a reason for you to visit your doctor. Different types of pneumonias can be life-threatening, depending on the bacterial or viral agent that causes the infection.
For example, Streptococcus pneumonia occurs when the same bacteria that cause strep throat gets into your lungs and causes an infection. You may have heard the term walking pneumonia, which is caused from an infection from the Mycoplasma genus. Staphylococcus bacteria can cause pneumonia, and so can viruses. The most common viruses associated with pneumonia are influenza A, which is the flu virus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). There are dozens of bacteria and viruses that can take a diabetic down quickly with pneumonia.
The worst infections are usually Pneumocystis carinii and other fungal infections. Fungal infections necessitate doses of heavy duty antibiotics that can damage your liver and other organs. This adds to the physiological stress that a diabetic is already dealing with.
Pneumonia is contracted by breathing infectious micro-organisms into your lungs. However, we all breathe the same air, and one must think – why is it that one person gets infection while another person does not? The answer is that good and bad microorganisms live in your respiratory tract at all times. It’s only when the immune system is run down that your body becomes unable to fight against the disease-causing bacteria, viruses or fungi. When this happens, these disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi start reproducing their numbers rapidly. Once their numbers hit a critical mass, infection becomes difficult to stop.
The answer is to keep your immune system healthy, and of course, eliminate, reverse your type 2 diabetes.