Diabetes and fungal infections: Find out the connection


Diabetes is a complicated health condition. In fact, it could lead to more health complications like heart disease, chronic kidney disease or problems with oral health and vision. Fungal infections are also part of this list. There might be mild skin infections or serious invasive infections, but a fungal infection should not be taken lightly. Read on to find out the link between diabetes and fungal infections.

Fungal infections are often taken less seriously, but these are actually silent killers. According to research journal publisher Hindawi, more than 300 million people across the globe are at extremely high risk. As many as 25 million people in the world are at high risk of dying due to fungal infections. Those with diabetes need to be more careful as they are susceptible to infection due to metabolic disorder, immune-related dysfunctions and several organ disorders.

HealthShots connected with Dr. B.M. Makkar, Senior Diabetologist, President, Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, Delhi, to find out the link between diabetes and fungal infections.

Diabetics have high chances of getting fungal infections. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Fungal infections are common among diabetics

Fungal infections, including vaginal yeast infection, are among the most common infections observed in people with diabetes. Anyone with diabetes — type 1 or type 2 — is more prone to have a fungal infection than a someone without diabetes, says Dr Makkar.

Why diabetics should be careful about fungal infections?

People with diabetes would know that they have to be careful about a lot of things. They also have to watch out for fungal infections. The reason that people with diabetes are more prone to fungal infections is that they usually have an elevated blood sugar level, explains the expert. Since fungi feed on sugar, high blood sugar provides the optimum condition for it to thrive. High sugar levels translate into your blood, sweat, urine, and saliva, all having increased sugar, so the chances of being attacked by fungi shoot up.

Which all body parts get affected by fungal infections?

The infections usually spread in moist areas of the body like your mouth and armpit. When fungal infection occurs in the mouth, it is commonly referred to as oral thrush. It manifests as a bitter taste in the mouth, lesions on the tongue, lips, or back of the mouth, and cracks at the corners of the lips.

diabetes and fungal infections
Women might have vaginal yeast infection if they have diabetes. Courtesy: Freepik

Sometimes, the infection might spread in the blood, which is called invasive candidiasis.

In women, the vagina and area under the breasts are the most common sights of fungal infections, says Dr Makkar. Among various types of fungal infections, vaginal yeast infection is common among women. Your body contains a kind of yeast called candida, which leads to this type of infection. You might end up with burning, itching or redness in your vulva if you are infected. Genital infections are common in both men and women, but particularly in women due to hygiene issues (tips to maintain vaginal health in winter).

Treatment for fungal infections

Fungal infections can be treated even if you are severely infected.

• Topical treatments are generally used to treat mild to moderate fungal infections in people with diabetes. So, you can go for a cream or ointment or powder.

• In case of severe infection, you will have to take oral anti-fungal medications like fluconazole.

The best way to minimise the chances of getting a fungal infection is to maintain your blood sugar level!



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