Recognizing the Signs of Fungal Infection in Diabetics

People with diabetes are very susceptible to fungal infections. This is especially true if their diabetes in not controlled, as funguses thrive on high glucose levels. The following list of infections range everywhere from minor to severe. Being equipped to recognize the signs will shorten any amount of time that you may have to deal with these infections.

Skin and Nail Infections

  • Athlete's Foot, or tinea pedis, can be found on the feet, as the name suggests. You may observe pallid, scaly skin, especially between the toes. The area may be itchy, or feel as though it's burning. The skin may also appear soggy.
  • Jock Itch, or tinea cruris, is common among athletes or anyone whose genital areas remain moist for extended periods of time. Jock itch can be recognized by an itchy, red rash in the groin or anal area.
  • Ringworm on the body, tinea corporis, displays itself as scaly red patches, surrounding seemingly unaffected skin. Scalp ringworm, tinea capitis, mainly affects children. The affected area may be inflamed and experiencing hair loss.
  • Nail infections, onychomycosis, are sometimes caused by dermatophytes. This infection will change the appearance and texture of your nails. Discoloration and thickening of either the finger or toenails may be observed. The nails may also split or become crumbly. It's possible for this form of nail infection to spread to the adjacent skin.
  • Thrush, candida albacans, can affect various body areas. When it's found in the mouth, there may be white patches, that become red when they're rubbed, as well as a painful or burning sensation. If the vagina is affected, a thick white discharge, accompanied by itching, will be noted. The penis may also be infected and will have a red rash. Although thrush is usually found in the above areas, it is possible for it to make it's home anywhere on the body where there are damp, warm skin folds. These further areas may include the corners of the mouth, the foreskin, the area under the breasts, and in the armpits.
  • Pityriasis Versicolor is usually found on people with oily skin. This fungal infection causes light skinned people to have dark spots on their skin. Dark skinned individuals will find light patches on their skin.

Fungal Infections of the Brain, Sinuses, or Lungs

Mucormycosis is a very serious fungal infection that is acquired by spore inhalation. People with immune disorders, like diabetics, are especially susceptible. If a person with diabetes should develop any of these symptoms, medical attention should be sought as quickly as possible. This fungal infection carries a high mortality rate (25-80%) dependant upon which area of the body is being attacked.

  • Rhinocerebral infection affects the sinuses and the brain, and is the most common of the Mucormycosis infections. What may begin like a normal sinus infection progresses to infect the eye socket, and also inflames the cranial nerves. Blood clots may develop in the vessels leading to the brain. Symptoms include fever, swelling of the eye area, pain, pus draining from the nose, and nasal scabbing.
  • Pulmonary Mucormycosis involves the lungs and resembles pneumonia. Left untreated this swiftly advancing infection could spread throughout the chest, heart and brain. The patient may have difficulty breathing, a fever, coughing, and may begin to cough up blood.

Mucormycosis, is less likely, but may also infect the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. If this happens, you will notice symptoms such as pain in the abdomen and blood in the vomit. Mucormycosis may also cause an infection on the skin. An area of the skin may be black, painful and hardened.


Photo Credit: alschim

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