Managing Pneumonia in Diabetics

Pneumonia is a serious health problem for anyone. However, pneumonia in diabetics and people suffering from other chronic diseases offers more risks. According to a number of studies, type 1 and 2 diabetes has been linked with increased mortality rate in pneumonia cases. One such study indicated that in type 1, the risk of hospitalization was 4 times while in type 2, it was 1.2 times higher. Prior and after these study results, doctors have advised diabetics to have pneumonia and flu vaccines at least once in a year to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.

As a diabetic, it is critical to be on the alert for any infection because of the risks involved. According to the national diabetes statistics, diabetics account for more than half of all amputations, and most of these procedures could be avoided if infections are avoided. Pneumonia in diabetics is indicated by body fatigue, cough, fever, chest pains, labored breath etc. but these symptoms vary with age of the patient and severity of the infection.

For diabetics, even the slightest clue of pneumonia should be a reason to seek the attention of the doctor. The different kinds of pneumonia that can be life threatening to a diabetic are streptococcus pneumonia and walking pneumonia. Diabetics should especially be vigilant of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and influenza virus, both of which account for most cases of pneumonia. While viral pneumonia in diabetics is a big challenge, the bacterial infections offer even bigger threats. The constant use of antibiotics for the treatment of fungal infections such as Pneumocystis carinii is known to cause irreversible damage to the vital body organs. All these complications could be avoided through the regular administration of the highly effective pneumonia and flu vaccine.

A pneumonia vaccine may not offer 100% cover but at least it reduces the instances of pneumonia in diabetics. In fact, such a shot is considered a lifesaver for all diabetics considering that the risk of dying is increased by three times if a diabetic contracts pneumonia. The surprising thing is that data shows that less than half of diabetes victims ever get the pneumonia vaccine. Generally, a pneumonia vaccine should be administered to anyone who is past the age of two. This shot not only protects from the complications of pneumonia in diabetics, but also prevents the contraction of other bacterial diseases. Meningitis, lung diseases and blood disorders account for many deaths but most of these can be avoided through the pneumonia vaccine. In between the pneumonia and flu shots, it is advisable to maintain the precautions against all communicable diseases. This involves limiting contact with other people, covering the nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, washing hands and disposing used tissue appropriately.

Since pneumonia is transmitted by breathing in the causative agents, the question is why diabetics are so vulnerable to infection. Microorganisms are ever present in the atmosphere but become harmful to the body when the defense fighting mechanism runs down. For diabetes and other chronicle diseases, the body immunity is seriously affected making it easy for the infestation of fungi, viruses, parasites and bacteria. Once these microorganisms enter the body, control is difficult.

The best way to alleviate the effects of pneumonia in diabetics is to avoid the infection. Pneumonia is sometimes a complication of respiratory problems so treating dealing with the early signs can help prevent it. Therefore, it is important to give extra vaccines to children and chronically ill people. These should be coupled by regular pneumonia shots to cater for the reduced immune system strength. By doing this, the high mortality rate of pneumonia in diabetics can be reduced.

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