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Infections in diabetes

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you have diabetes, you're more likely to get some types of infections. Also, diabetes can make your blood circulation more sluggish. So infections might take longer to clear.

You may be more likely to get infections in these parts of your body: [12] [36]

  • Your kidneys or your bladder

  • Your skin

  • Your teeth or gums

  • And if you're a woman, in your vagina.

An infection in your gums can give you a condition called gingivitis. This is when your gums get sore and swollen. If infections in your teeth or gums aren't treated, your teeth may get loose and fall out.

You may also get sicker than someone without diabetes if you get pneumonia or flu.

Action points
  • Keep your blood glucose level as close to normal as possible. This makes it less likely that you'll get an infection. [12]For more information, see Checking your blood glucose.

  • Get a flu jab every year.

  • Ask your GP about a vaccination against pneumonia.

  • Take good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly. This can help stop you getting gum infections and bad teeth.

  • Your lungs (an infection here is called pneumonia)

  • If you get a fever, cough, pain when you urinate, or another symptom of an infection, see your doctor straight away.



You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.


Your kidneys are organs that filter your blood to make urine. You have two kidneys, on either side of your body. They are underneath your ribcage, near your back.


Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs. Anything that causes infections (bacteria, viruses or fungi, for example) can give you pneumonia.


A vaccination is an injection a doctor can give you to protect you from getting an infectious illness (an illness that spreads between people).

For more terms related to Diabetes, type 2


For references related to Diabetes, type 2 click here.
Last Updated: October 30, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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