It’s not easy being a diabetic. In addition to having to monitor and control their sugar levels, they also have to be careful of other troubles, such as problems with their feet, eye damage and even susceptibility to strokes and heart attacks. And in the last decade, urinary tract infections have been added to the list of woes of a diabetic.

Certainly many women have had the occasion, young and more aged, to be afflicted with this infection. However, research from the Scientific Sessions of he American Diabetes Association seems to indicate that diabetics are more prone.

Why do people with diabetes get urinary tract infections?

White blood cells

The problem centers around a diabetics ability to send those strong white blood cells, which are infection fighters, to places in the body that are prone to bacteria. One of the characteristics of diabetes is poor circulation, so that means those white blood cells can’t always get where they need to be before an infection sets in, especially in the bladder and its surrounding system.

Diabetes also seems to make the white blood cells weaker, which means when they do get to the places in the body to fight infection, they aren’t as effective in killing the bacteria.

Impaired bladders

In addition, people affected by diabetes tend to have impaired bladders. What this means is that urine may sit in the bladder longer than it should, which in turn provides a breeding pond for bacteria.

The bottom line

Specifically, a urinary tract infection comes from bacteria that grows in the urinary tract and can include the kidneys, the ureters, and the urethra. It’s tough on diabetics because bacteria loves sugar, so a diabetic’s inability to control the sugar levels in their blood like non-diabetic people can cause these infections.

According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 10 percent of patients with Type 2 Diabetes had a urinary tract infection compared to less than six percent of non-diabetics.

Treatment and prevention

Once a urinary tract infection is diagnosed, it can usually be treated with antibiotics and does not generally require a hospital stay. Upper urinary tract infections, as opposed to lower, can be more serious, as it may mean the infection has reached the kidneys. However, because of the discomfort urinary tract infections can cause (including pan), most patients can be diagnosed early enough to be cured with simple antibiotics.

In addition to not maintaining a healthy sugar level, these infections can also be caused by things such as using a condom that contains spermicide, kidney stones and an enlarged prostrate (in men).

There are ways that anyone, including diabetics, can help prevent a urinary tract infection. They include:

• Drinking lots of water – eight 8-oz. glasses a day.

• Keeping control of your blood sugar. Your physician will advise you of your optimum blood sugar level.

• Consuming a glass of cranberry juice (preferably unsweetened) several times a week.

• Peeing after sexual intercourse.

• Not trying to hold urine in too long.

• Keeping genitals and private areas clean, including the anal area.

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