Will Little Issues Get Bigger?
I am a 61-year-old woman and have been on insulin for 38 years. My A1C is usually a little over 7. Over the past year, it seems I always have some infection or problem: cataracts, bladder infection and interstitial cystitis, sinus infections, ingrown toenail, bursitis in an elbow and carpal tunnel in a hand, and root canals and two teeth pulled. I’m worried that these small problems are the beginning of more serious things. What can I do to help with the obvious inflammation in my body? Name Withheld
Janis McWilliams, RN, MSN, CDE, BC-ADM, responds:
What to Know:
It is difficult not to worry when medical problems accumulate. As you are aware, diabetes puts you at greater risk for developing some conditions. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women and people with diabetes. Cataracts are more likely to develop in people with diabetes at a younger age. Women, especially postmenopausal women, are more prone to develop urinary tract infections than men, and women with diabetes are at greater risk. Dental problems in diabetes are usually related to gum disease.
Sinus infections aren't necessarily related to diabetes, although if diabetes is not well controlled, the immune system can be weakened. People with diabetes do need to maintain good foot care, which includes cutting your toenails straight across. However, anyone can have ingrown toenails. There is no established link between diabetes and bursitis.
Some of your problems may be related to having diabetes. However, just getting older can also be a risk! None of us can stop aging, but there are some things that you can do to improve your chances of avoiding more problems.
We know that well-controlled diabetes helps avoid complications. Enjoy as happy and active a lifestyle as you can, and try not to be discouraged by the medical bumps in the road.
You have had diabetes for a long time and seem to have reasonable control, judging by your A1C. However, the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping A1C below 7 percent for most people. Check with your health care provider about how you can achieve your individual goal. A diabetes educator may also provide tips based on your lifestyle and treatment to help you tighten the target range for your blood glucose levels.