Diagnosing And Treating Infections
Your health care provider may perform one or more tests to diagnose infection, including blood tests, microscopic examination of secretions, urine dipstick tests, X-rays and physical examination.
Keep the following questions in mind when discussing any possible infections with your health care providers:
- For what symptoms should I call the doctor’s office?
- How should I manage my medications during an infection?
- Do antibiotics interact with any of my other medications?
Health care providers may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to treat some infections. Careful blood sugar control is important during any infection to promote healing and prevent further complications related to the infection.
What Increases My Risk For Nondiabetic Hyperglycemia
- A medical condition such as Cushing syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Surgery or trauma, such as a burn or injury
- Infections, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection
- Certain medicines, such as steroids or diuretics
- Nutrition given through a feeding tube or IV
- A family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes
- Obesity or a lack of physical activity
What Causes Vaginal Yeast Infections
Having small amounts of Candida on the skin and inside the mouth, digestive tract, and vagina is normal. A healthy immune system and some âgoodâ bacteria keep the amount in a personâs body under control.
But yeast in the vagina can sometimes âovergrowâ and lead to symptoms of a yeast infection. This can happen if a girl:
- has a weak immune system from an illness or medicines like chemotherapy
- takes antibiotics for a bacterial infection . The antibiotics can kill off the âgoodâ bacteria that keep the Candida in check.
- has high blood sugar. Girls whose diabetes isnât well-controlled are more likely to get yeast infections.
- wears clothing that is too tight or made of materials like nylon that trap heat and moisture
As girls mature and go through puberty, hormonal changes can make them more likely to get yeast infections. Sometimes, girls get yeast infections right before their menstrual periods. Pregnant women are also more likely to get them. Yeast infections are not an STD .
Young girls who havenât gone through puberty yet are less likely to get yeast infections, but they can happen. So if your young daughter complains of itching or discomfort in her vaginal area, itâs important to talk with her doctor.
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How Can People With Diabetes Avoid Getting Infections
Even though youre at a higher risk of infections if you have diabetes, you can take steps to lower that risk. Here are 3 tips for how to prevent infections:
Keep blood sugar controlled. One of the most effective ways to prevent infections is to keep your blood sugar under control. Your doctor will likely give you a hemoglobin A1C or blood sugar range to aim for. Keeping your levels below these ranges will help you avoid infections. Exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, following an American Diabetes Association meal plan, and taking all diabetes medications as prescribed will help you keep your blood sugar levels at goal.
Get vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia on schedule. We discussed that sometimes having diabetes can increase your risk of certain infections or complications even if your blood sugar is under control. Get a flu vaccine every year to reduce your risk of catching the flu and developing flu complications. If you are under 65 years old, a one-time pneumococcal vaccine will help prevent pneumonia. If you are 65 or older, you should have a pneumococcal vaccine every 5 years to keep up that protection.
Get yearly diabetic foot exams. Special foot exams are recommended for people with diabetes. According to the ADA, you should have a diabetic foot exam at least once a year to help detect any loss of feeling, which may be an early sign of diabetic neuropathy.
Common Causes Of Yeast Infections
Many people ask what causes high yeast levels in the body? There are a variety of factors that can cause yeast infection. People with diabetes are even more susceptible because combining these variables with even slightly high blood sugar levels creates a comfortable environment for yeast overgrowth.
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Signs & Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection
The earliest signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are subtle, and easy to ignore at first, but eventually, these symptoms will become extremely uncomfortable.
- Intense itching
- Needing to pee frequently
If youve never experienced a yeast infection before, contact your healthcare team to help determine what it is before purchasing any over-the-counter medications. Untreated yeast infections can become extremely uncomfortable and painful.
Diagnosing A Yeast Infection
While the symptoms of a yeast infection are generally obvious and hard to confuse with another medical condition, it is recommended that you contact your healthcare team to get a proper diagnosis.
They will take a swab sample of the discharge to confirm it is a yeast infection. This will also determine whether its fungal or bacterial.
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How Is A Yeast Infection Diagnosed
See your doctor if youre experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection. They can help you treat it and also rule out other causes for your symptoms.
Vaginal yeast infections have many of the same symptoms as STIs, so its important that youre sure of your diagnosis. If left untreated, STIs can have more serious and long-term consequences.
During your appointment, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms. They will also ask about any medications you may be taking or other conditions that you may have.
After assessing your medical profile, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam. They first examine your external genital area for any signs of infection. Then they insert a speculum into your vagina. This holds your vaginal walls open, allowing your doctor to look at the inside of your vagina and cervix.
Your doctor may also take a sample of your vaginal fluid to determine the type of fungus thats causing the infection. Knowing the type of fungus behind the infection can help your doctor prescribe the most effective treatment option for you.
Mild to moderate yeast infections can usually be cleared up with a topical treatment such as a cream, ointment, or suppository. The course of treatment can last up to seven days depending on the medication.
Common options include:
These medications are available over the counter and by prescription.
Your doctor may also instruct you to use a condom during sex to avoid spreading the infection to your partner.
Af% For Infections In Patients With Dm
Finally, we estimated AF% for the three summary groupings plus individual infection types across HbA1c categories for patients with DM compared with the optimal control scenario of 67%. The largest AF% estimate was for bone and joint infections, with 46.0% of hospitalizations being attributed to HbA1c values outside of the range 67%. Other large AF% estimates were observed for endocarditis and tuberculosis , but CIs were wide. Sepsis , pneumonia , skin infections , and candidiasis all produced AF% estimates of 10%. Overall, 15.7% of infection-related deaths, 16.5% of infection-related hospitalizations, and 6.8% of infections requiring a prescription were attributed to values of HbA1c outside the 67% range. These summary estimates were similar in a sensitivity analysis that used a time-updated HbA1c measurement .
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Can Diabetic Ketoacidosis Be Prevented Or Avoided
If you have diabetes, there are some things you can do to watch for diabetic ketoacidosis. When youre sick, watch your blood sugar level very closely so it doesnt get too high or too low. Ask your doctor what your critical blood sugar level is. Most patients should watch their glucose levels closely when they are more than 250 mg per dL.
When youre sick or stressed, you should check your blood sugar level more often than normal . If your blood sugar reaches a critical level, check it every 1 to 2 hours. Ask your doctor if you should test your blood sugar level during the night.
You should also test your urine for ketones every few hours if youre sick, stressed, or if your blood sugar level is more than 250 mg per dL.
You should talk to your doctor to develop a plan if your blood sugar level gets too high. Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor in an emergency.
Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
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Infections And Blood Glucose Levels
When your body is under mental or physical stress, such as when fighting off an infection, hormones such as cortisol are released to help your body cope. The hormones that are released to fight off the infection might have the side effect of raising your blood sugar levels, so your body has the energy it needs to get better. This effect can happen to both diabetics and nondiabetics.
Dos And Donts Of Managing Diabetes When Youre Sick
When youre sick, your body releases hormones that can raise blood sugar which is already a concern when you have type 2 diabetes. Find out what you need to know before the next cold or flu strikes.
Type 2 diabetes doesnt take a day off even if youre feeling lousy because you have a cold or the flu. In fact, when youre sick, you need to be extra mindful to stay on top of your diabetes self-care. Thats because a cold, sinus infection, or the flu can put your body under stress, causing it to release hormones that help fight the illness but these hormones can also affect your blood sugar levels.
Infections, particularly serious ones, can lead to diabetes complications. The most dangerous although its rare in people with type 2 diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to a diabetic coma, according to endocrinologist Alan Garber, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and president of the American College of Endocrinology. “Infection is a metabolic stress, and it raises your blood sugar,” Dr. Garber says. It can be hard to know how you will respond to each infection, he adds.
There are also many things you can do to help keep your diabetes under control if you do get sick.
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Caution With Artificial Sweeteners
We are so used to sugar in our food that the mere thought of having to cut down on sugars can be a horrifying thought. Knowing that taking too much sugar can cause many metabolic issues, people turn to artificial sweeteners. They think that a simple replacement of sugars with these sweeteners can be a simple solution. However, there is some evidence that artificial sweeteners by themselves can make you glucose intolerant as they cannot be digested and therefore interact directly with the gut bacteria. A study from 2014 by scientists from Israel showed that artificial sweeteners quickly caused changes in gut bacteria in some people. The gut bacteria changed to the type of bacteria that are also seen in people with obesity. These bacteria also cause glucose intolerance and glucose intolerance directly means higher susceptibility to candida infections.
Now what this means is that there are some people who can tolerate artificial sweeteners and there are some who cant. What this means for you as someone already having issues with candida is that you should be extra careful while taking anything with artificial sweeteners. You would not want to disturb your gut microbes more than they already are.
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Yeast Infection Treatment Options
Treating a yeast infection can be frustrating because there are a few types of over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments and they arent cheap. Additionally, one type of anti-fungal treatment may not help at all while the next option on the shelf will. It can take some trial and error to determine the best treatment for your body.
- Start by improving your blood sugars: If your yeast infections are frequent and recurring, talk to your healthcare team to help you address whats causing the infections. Adjusting your diabetes medications can do wonders! No anti-fungal treatment will help a yeast infection if you do not also bring your blood sugars down to a healthy range. Recurring yeast infections mean something in your day-to-day life or your general health needs some attention.
- Over-the-counter antifungal creams: The four types of OTC products you can buy at your local pharmacy are butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, and terconazole. These are all creams or small pill-like capsules that are inserted into your vagina or on the affected skin area. Remember, if one type doesnt work, try a different one. Dont just change brands read the fine print to determine which type youve already tried.
- Stronger prescription medications: The drug fluconazole and nystatin can be taken by mouth for certain types of long-term infections.
- Male circumcision: In severe cases, a male with recurring yeast infections may need to consider circumcision to prevent further infections.
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Minerals Can Help To Stabilize Blood Sugar
Minerals such as chromium, zinc and magnesium are essential for healthy blood sugar management. Chromium helps to balance the amount of sugar your body absorbs by working with the insulin-signaling pathways. This helps to balance blood glucose levels while still allowing you to have stable energy.
Magnesium is important too, because elevated blood glucose levels can increase the loss of magnesium through your urine, reducing the amount of magnesium in your blood.
Zinc is needed for the formation of insulin in the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin.
How Is It Treated
If you have diabetes and notice any of the early signs of high blood sugar, test your blood sugar and call the doctor. They may ask you for the results of several readings. They could recommend the following changes:
Drink more water. Water helps remove excess sugar from your blood through urine, and it helps you avoid dehydration.
Exercise more. Working out can help lower your blood sugar. But under certain conditions, it can make blood sugar go even higher. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise is right for you.
Caution: If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you need to check your urine for ketones. When you have ketones, do NOT exercise. If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you must also be sure that you have no ketones in your urine and that you are well-hydrated. Then your doctor might give you the OK to exercise with caution as long as you feel up to it.
Change your eating habits. You may need to meet with a dietitian to change the amount and types of foods you eat.
If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is more than 250 mg/dL, your doctor may want you to test your urine or blood for ketones.
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