How Diabetes Can Affect Rehabilitation

lady checking her sugar level

If you’re a person with Type 2 diabetes, you’re probably already aware that you will always experience medical complications. That risk is heightened if you’re older, overweight or in poor health.

What can you expect from post-surgical rehab?

Even if your blood sugar was under control when you went in for surgery, it may well not be afterward. The stresses—physical and mental—of surgery may cause changes in hormone levels, such as increased insulin resistance, lower insulin secretion and less glucose uptake into cells. This may result in hyperglycemia.

Post-Surgical Complications for Diabetics

Hyperglycemia and other post-surgical problems may cause dehydration or other symptoms that include:

  • Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome which causes high glucose levels, dehydration and decreased consciousness.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis makes insulin less effective in burning glucose. Instead, the body burns fat, causing a build-up of ketones. Dehydration may be a cause.
  • Impaired wound healing because of poor circulation, nerve damage, weakened immune systems, and skin problems.
  • Infection caused by poor circulation, nerve damage, weakened immune systems, and skin problems.
  • Sepsis is a severe type of infection caused by bacteria in the blood stream.
  • Endothelial dysfunction resulting from high glucose levels that increase risk of inflammation or injury to the lining of blood vessels.
  • Ischemia is a lack of blood supply to a part of the body leading to tissue death in the affected area. In addition to diabetes, gastrointestinal upset and dehydration increase risk.
  • Electrolyte imbalance may be caused by stress, medications and anesthesia, resulting in nausea, vomiting and dehydration.
  • Renal failure is always a risk for diabetics. That risk increases when electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, medication reactions, abnormal blood pressure, sepsis and trauma occur.
  • Heart arrhythmias may result from a variety of factors, including hyperglycemia, heart disease, certain medications, hypertension, obesity, and electrolyte imbalance.
    Once you’re stabilized after surgery, you may stay in the hospital for a few days before being moved by ambulance to a rehab center.

Your Treatment Depends on Various Factors

Your schedule, nutrition, pain medication and wound care will be determined by your doctor based on your unique needs. When treating diabetics, doctors must consider:

  • Stability/control of glucose levels
  • Age
  • Diabetes treatment regimen
  • Existing complications
  • Existing illness
  • Malnutrition
  • Length of time with diabetes
  • Physical fitness

Even before surgery, if you have diabetes, you must stabilize your glucose levels and maintain a healthy diet and weight for the best results.

There Is No Average Rehab Stay

No matter what type of surgery you have, there is no average rehab stay. Your stay depends on your health and your level of function. And, being a diabetic, it’s more likely you may experience slower wound healing and stay longer.

Try to maintain realistic expectations for your rehab stay.

How to Get Home Faster

Your health depends on following your doctor’s orders. Whether you are in rehab or not, following International Diabetes Federation guidelines will reduce your risk of developing complications from diabetes.

  • Eat healthy
  • Get physical exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Follow medical advice
  • Reduce stress
  • Stop smoking

Your stay in the rehab center is sure to put you on the right path.

Looking for a Rehab Center?

Many doctors recommend you select a rehab center before surgery. When selecting a rehab center, make sure you consider important factors, such as Medicare ratings.

Have further questions on what to ask when choosing a skilled rehab center? Feel free to contact us for more information!