Can Diabetes Increase the Risk of Infections?


Can Diabetes Increase the Risk of Infections?

With over 101 million people affected, diabetes today seems to have entered almost every Indian household. Most Indian families have at least one family member who might be dealing with diabetes. This chronic condition occurs when the blood sugar level is higher than normal. If not managed correctly, it can cause multiple infections in the body.

Diabetes increases the risk of infections as the disease damages peripheral nerves and lowers blood flow throughout the body. Moreover, the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut is also affected. Thus, harmful bacteria grow rapidly, increasing the risk for infection in no time.

Read on as we delve deeper into the relationship between diabetes and the risk of diabetes infection and highlight a few simple steps to manage the situation better. So, keep reading till the end.

What is Diabetes? 

Our body breaks down food particles we eat into (sugar) glucose. The produced glucose is then released into the blood, useful for different purposes. Now, when the blood sugar level increases, it indicates the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a type of hormone that acts as an initiating key to allow the blood sugar into cells to convert into energy.

However, with diabetes, the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use it properly. It causes a quick increase in blood sugar levels. In other words, diabetes is a chronic health condition that disturbs the process of managing insulin in the body. If the condition is left untreated for a long, it can cause diabetes risk factors like heart disease, nerve damage, or kidney problems.

If you worry whether diabetes is a communicable disease, then the answer is no. However, when you have diabetes, your chances of catching an infection become high. Let us understand how diabetes can increase the risk of infections. But before that let’s uncover:

Why Do Infections Occur?

Healthcare experts suggest that people with high levels of blood sugar in their bodies are prone to developing various bacterial and fungal infections in leg and other body parts, too. The most common infections occur in the feet and hands. Often, medications like antibiotics help in controlling these early diabetes feet infections. However, in severe cases, it could lead to amputation.

In diabetic patients, the immune system gets weakened owing to the high sugar levels in the bloodstream. Hence, the body’s ability to fight infections reduces and makes a person more susceptible to infections. Over the long run, high sugar affects blood circulation; in turn, oxygen and nutrients fail to nourish the tissues, thereby increasing the risks. Furthermore, other health issues like nerveous system damage (conditions like peripheral neuropathy) or curtailed blood flow to extremities like arms, legs, hand, and foot, also raise the risks of infections.

>>Also Read: Importance of Foot Care for People with Diabetes

Common Infections Related to Diabetes

Let us take a look at some of the most common infections that diabetic patients may experience: 

  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Throat infections
  • Eye infection
  • Infections in nose and sinuses
  • Infections in outer ear and nose
  • Foot infections
  • Yeast infections diabetes on the skin
  • Urinary tract infections.

Symptoms of Infections

A diabetic person showing any of the following symptoms is likely to have an infection which needs medical attention:

  • Fever (above 101)
  • Sore throat
  • Dry or moist cough
  • Headaches
  • Sweating or chills
  • Skin rashes
  • Pain or swelling
  • Draining sore
  • A wound that is not healing
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Frequent urination

It is highly essential to seek quick medical attention if a diabetic person shows any symptoms of an infection in order to avoid worsening of the problem. The presence of infections is ascertained through blood tests and other lab tests. Oral medicines are prescribed, particularly antibiotics, to treat the infections.

In the case of yeast infections diabetes, improvement is seen within a few days if it is mild. However, in severe cases, it may take up to weeks.

How to Prevent Infections?

Obviously, prevention is better than cure. Here are some basic measures necessary to prevent infections in diabetes.

Maintain Blood Sugar Level

It is super important to keep blood sugar levels in check. Otherwise, high blood sugar for a long time can harm the immune system where the body is  able to fight infections. One can go to a clinic or take the help of devices for regular monitoring of diabetes at home.

Proper Foot Care

Diabetes causes nerve damage and poor blood circulation, especially in the feet. You should pay close attention to your feet daily for any diabetic foot infection like cuts, blisters, or redness. If you notice  any of these, treat them quickly. Make sure to keep your feet clean and moisturised. Don’t wear  unfitted or tight shoes.

Dental Care

Gums can get affected due to unusual blood sugar levels. It is important to maintain  good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and cleaning. Also include basic hygiene routines like brushing twice, using floss once a day, using antibacterial mouthwash, not smoking, etc.


Diabetic patients are recommended some vaccinations like the flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine to keep dangerous infections at bay. They shouldn’t avoid vaccinations at any cost because these infections worsen in a diabetic body.

Stay Active 

Engaging in regular physical activity can boost the immune system and help to maintain a healthy weight. One does not need to hit the gym or perform high intensity workouts. A 30-minute brisk walk in the morning and evening and making simple alterations like choosing stairs over lifts can also contribute to an active lifestyle.

Why Do I Need Insurance for Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic ailment affecting millions of people in India. Complications arising from diabetes are a concern for many as it implies expensive treatment. Therefore, opting for Diabetes insurance is advisable. If a diabetic person gets an infection, it could damage important organs in the body. Therefore, adequate medical care and precautions are necessary for overall well-being.

The right health insurance coverage offers numerous benefits that can ease the financial burden  arising out of a hospitalisation. Coverage for in-hospital expenses, including doctor visits, laboratory tests, and medications, ensures you can access essential treatments without incurring substantial out-of-pocket costs. In critical situations such as infections or diabetes-related complications requiring emergency medical attention, health insurance covers hospitalisation, surgeries, and intensive care, providing peace of mind during those challenging moments.

Additionally, health insurance plans often include prescription drug coverage up to a defined period, which is particularly vital for patients who require on-going medications. Specialist care is another advantage, with health insurance plans offering coverage for consultations with experts like endocrinologists, podiatrists, and ophthalmologists. This ensures that individuals with diabetes can receive specialised care when needed.

Furthermore, preventive health check-ups are crucial for individuals with diabetes, helping them proactively prevent infections and complications.

Let's Wrap it Up

Living with diabetes demands a lot of discipline in terms of going for regular exercise, eating healthy foods every day, taking the right medications and so on. A timely diagnosis of ailments arising due to high blood sugar is extremely important to avoid further complications.

Also, in order to get the required financial support when it comes to getting treatment for diabetes, one should rely on customised health insurance plans that provide specific cover for diabetes related treatment. As diabetes becomes a common household name, being prepared is the best way forward. At Care Health Insurance, we offer ‘Care Freedom’, a health insurance plan for people with diabetes that offer coverage for hospitalisation as well as pre-and-post hospitalisation.

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.


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Q. Why does infection increase blood glucose levels?

When your body senses an infection, it releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones trigger the liver to produce more glucose and make cells less responsive to insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Additionally, the immune system demands more energy, causing elevated blood sugar levels.

Q. Is diabetes an infectious disease?

No, diabetes is not an infectious disease, as bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms do not cause it. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by high blood sugar levels, primarily due to problems with insulin production or action in the body.

Q. Can diabetes cause itching in private parts?

Yes, diabetes can lead to itching in various body parts, including the genital area. This itching is often a result of high blood sugar levels, leading to yeast infection, diabetes, or other fungal infections.

Q. How to diagnose diabetes?

A few tests are the be conducted to diagnose diabetes including-

  • Fasting Blood Test
  • HbA1C Test
  • Random Blood Sugar Test
  • Glucose Tolerance Test


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