When a patient has surgery, there are many factors that are considered in their care. Diabetes mellitus is becoming increasingly more common, and having this disease needs special consideration around the time of surgery. If you are having surgery and you have diabetes it is important to let your doctors and nursing staff know.
What is diabetes mellitus?
Using the word diabetes may be used to describe two different diseases: diabetes mellitus (for example ‘type one’ and ‘type two’) and diabetes insipidus. This article is about diabetes mellitus. If you have diabetes insipidus you should also inform your surgeon.
Diabetes mellitus is the term used to cluster similar diseases together. Different types of diabetes have different causes but all experience a common sign: poor glucose (sugar) tolerance. The pancreas produces insulin which helps cells utilise sugar.
The two most common types of diabetes mellitus are Type 1 and Type 2. In type one diabetes mellitus (T1DM), there is an absolute insulin deficiency. Type two diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is insulin resistance with some insulin deficit. A patient can experience hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), and many other symptoms.
Why is it important to know if a patient had diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus affects blood sugar levels and you may be on medication to help control ‘your sugars’. Before surgery you are required to fast (not eat any food) and this will make you blood sugar lower. Therefore it is not advised to take any medication for diabetes the morning of your surgery.
It is important to know which medications you take that bring your blood sugar down. Your surgeon and your GP can discuss with you which medications you can and cannot take the morning of surgery.
Completing a Health History
As part of all the paperwork that goes with having a surgical procedure, you will be required to complete a patient health history form. It is important to fill this out as accurately as possible so that the hospital is aware of your condition and can plan ahead.
What are the risks and complications?
- Hypoglycaemia: long periods of fasting before or reduced food consumption after surgery can affect your blood sugar. You may need to speak to your GP and modify your medications to keep you blood sugar level within the normal limits during this time.
- Infection: patients with diabetes mellitus are at a higher risk of developing a post operative infection and delayed wound healing. You may be given wound care instructions after surgery which will help reduce this risk.
If you have an upcoming surgery with ENT Clinic and have questions about your diabetes
contact us today!