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Oct 14, 2015

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Diabetes and Surgery 

 By Eren Cooper
The Surgi Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes is a chronic, non -communicable disease that not only causes death but also loss of limbs. In 2012, diabetes was deemed a "national epidemic" in The Bahamas with a rate of 29.2 deaths per 100,000 persons annually. By 2014, there were 34,9000 cases of diabetes in a population of less than 322,000 people. Diabetes is linked to an inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition.

Diabetics face significant risks when they have to undergo surgery.The severity of the risk increases depending on how long the patient has had diabetes, the age of the patient, fitness level, whether or not the diabetic condition is well controlled and other factors.

Precautions before surgery

It's important to discuss with your doctor the best plan for optimum safety before, during and after surgery. Before surgery be sure to tell your doctor exactly what medications you're taking and the specific dosage. Also, discuss any other diabetic complications you've experienced or are currently experiencing like kidney, heart or eye problems, loss of feeling in your feet etc. Your doctor should fully examine you before surgery begins to determine the safest course of surgery. If you take insulin, ask what dosage you should take the night before and the day of surgery. During the surgery your doctor should constantly monitor your blood sugar levels to be sure they stay balanced.

Risks following surgery

  • Patients with diabetes have a higher risk of cardiovasculardisease and stroke following surgery.
  • Wounds may take longer to heal due to poor circulation and skin problems.
  • The surgical wound also has a higher chance of infection indiabetic patients because of their slower healing time.
  • Renal failure after surgery is also a serious risk since diabetes is is the number one cause of renal failure and the trauma of surgery or other complications of surgery can compound that risk.
  • The stress of surgery can increase levels of stress hormones rendering insulin less  effective.

Diabetics should monitor their post surgery symptoms carefully to ensure their sugar levels have not become unsteady. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience: weakness, anxiety, sweating, feeling very thirsty or hungry, frequent trips to the bathroom, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty with vision.

Article Sources : The Bahamas Diabetes Federation, www.idf.org ;Diabetes and Surgery, www.surgery.about.com; Post-Op concerns, www.diabetes.about.com ; Preparing for surgery when you have diabetes, www.nlm.nih.gov; Precautions with patients with diabetes undergoing surgery, www.patient.info .