A must read for hospital patients with diabetes

Diabetes in on the rise worldwide. Could it be the adoption of the western diet and lifestyle and countries across the globe? Whatever the cause may be, the numbers are alarming. In the United States alone, over 10 percent of the population has been confirmed diabetes, 12 million of those are age 65 or older, and 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes.* More alarming, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes; 1 in 4 doesn’t know.*

This has a major effect on our healthcare system, and the disease can be extremely harmful to hospital patients who need surgery. There is already risk associated with any surgery, however these are heightened for diabetics.

What you need to know if you are diabetic and having surgery.

1- Skin Integrity Issues – Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and your biggest protector from all ailments. Diabetics can see major problems in wound healing from surgery, and the skin and tissue at site of surgery can become very weak.

2- Higher Infection Rates – Whether it is an infection of the wound, a urinary tract infection, or pneumonia, the risk is heightened for diabetic patients. Serious complications can result in loss of a limb. In addition, you can be more prone to sepsis, a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.  

3- Electrolyte Imbalance – After surgery you may experience a change in your electrolyte levels (sodium, potassium). This doesn’t sound scary, however if they rise or fall significantly it can cause significant problems with the heart and the body’s fluid levels.  

4- Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia – Your blood glucose level could increase or decrease dramatically.

5- Hypergylcemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma or HHNKC – A complication of type 2 diabetes, this condition causes blood sugar levels to rise, usually over 600 mg/dl. Your body reacts by trying to pass the excess sugar into your urine. You urinate more often, thirst sets in, and it can lead to severe dehydration. This can turn to seizures, coma and eventually death.

6- Diabetic Ketoacidosis – A complication of type 1 diabetes where the blood sugars rise to dangerous levels and the blood becomes acidic. It is nothing to be taken lightly as it is a serious medical emergency.

What does our resident doctor, Dr. Romansky say to do to reduce surgery risks for diabetics?

“You have the ability control your own destiny. With exercise and diet changes, you have the potential to live a normal lifestyle, and reduce your risk,” stated Dr. Romansky of Healthmark Foot and Ankle. 

According to the CDC, Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels.  Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and premature death.  

*Source Diabetes.org

* Source CDC.gov