Diabetics and Knee Replacement Surgery

While complications can happen to anyone after knee replacement surgery, diabetics have a higher risk of complications than people without diabetes. If you have diabetes, it's important to be familiar with signs of abnormal blood sugar, such as vision problems, excessive thirst, or frequent urination. These symptoms may be a sign of a potential complication from the surgery, such as an infection.

Diabetics and Knee Replacement Surgery: An Overview

As someone with diabetes, you probably know a lot about the signs and symptoms that go along with abnormal blood sugar levels.
These can include:
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty with your vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Feeling slow or tired
  • Not getting better from a cold or flu
  • Having infections that don't go away or don't get better
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Needing to go to the bathroom a lot
  • Feeling hungry all of the time.


(Click Symptoms of Diabetes for more information.)


Understanding Abnormal Blood Sugar Levels

After your knee replacement surgery, these symptoms may indicate a problem. For example, an infection at the incision site can make it difficult to control blood sugar, and may require IV antibiotics to treat the infection. To help identify what is causing the symptoms, you may be asked to check your blood sugar more frequently. It is important to report any changes to your doctor as soon as possible so that the appropriate treatment can be started, if necessary.
As a person with diabetes, your risks for complications are higher. Although still uncommon, it is more likely for you to have:
  • A reaction to certain drugs used during the procedure
  • Infections
  • A delayed healing process.
For these reasons, it is important for you to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments and return sooner if any of the previously mentioned symptoms, or any other unusual symptoms, develop. Infections are a concern for this procedure, so your doctor will treat any early suspected infections more aggressively with the knowledge that you are a diabetic.
Because of the possible knee replacement surgery complications, it is essential for you to communicate with your healthcare team so that they can minimize any possible problems. Your team is trained to observe, evaluate, and respond to any unusual situations that may arise.
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