Diabetes Handbook Online

Infectious disease

The most common complication of diabetes liable to affects anyone-man, woman and child-is that of an infectious disease, from a trivial cold to serious pneumonia. Diabetics are not any more prone to illness and infection than anyone else but, when they fall ill, inevitably it upsets their precious balance. It does so because the body needs energy to fight off any infection, and in diabetics energy sources are limited by the amount of food eaten and the insulin available. Thus 'feed a cold and starve a fever' does not work with diabetics. In particular, the commonest contributory factor to illness creating chaos in control is the ill-advised omission in food intake: all increase the body's needs for insulin! Even in diarrhea and vomiting diabetics must continue to take the daily insulin injections. They have no danger at all of going 'hypo' when they have an illness, fever,flu,cold, food poisoning or whatever-only a danger that their fat reserves, flooding their circulation with ketones and making, them even more ill. With all illnesses, therefore, the golden rule must be to continue the injections regardless, and at the same time to seek immediate medical advice.

Similarly, the importance of regular daily urine testing during this twice or three times a day or even more often during the illness itself is necessary, and urine testing at least daily for a week during the recovery period is important in order to monitor the effect of the illness or infection on the diabetic control.

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