Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common endocrine disease, characterized by chronic hyperglycemia. The hyperglycemic milieu leads to endothelial injury in blood vessels of variant size, which results in microangiopathy & macroangiopathy (atherosclerosis). Consequential ischemia of nerves and hyperglycemia lead to nerve degeneration and generalized neuropathy, affecting most often the sensory peripheral nerves and the autonomic nervous system. Auditory, vestibular and olfactory sensorium may be compromised by Diabetes mellitus. People with diabetes mellitus have an increased susceptibility to infection, as a result of neutrophil dysfunction and impaired humoral immunity. Therefore, DM predisposes to certain infectious diseases, such as fungal sinusitis or malignant otitis externa, which are rare in the general population. Recovery from infections or from injuries may be compromised by coexisting DM.
Diabetes and Ears
It is very usual to develop the risk of sensorineural hearing loss along with diabetes. It happens due to high levels of blood glucose which causes damage to the inner ear hair cells. Infections of the middle ear tend to take a longer time to heal in patients with Diabetes. Skull base osteomyelitis (malignant otitis externa) is another dreaded disease of the ear which presents with a severe infection of the ear, pain and even facial paralysis.
Diabetes and Nose
Regarding the nose, the main complaints of patients are hyposmia and several degrees of decreased noses patency. Septal perforation, alar necrosis, ulceration of nasal mucosa and chronic atrophic rhinitis are the symptoms. Mucormycosis, commonly called black fungus in the covid era is a fungal infection causing extensive destruction of the nose, eyes and even brain.
Diabetes and oral cavity, throat
Diabetes can disturb the tract of the gastrointestinal (GI) region. The GI tract is responsible for digestion, ingestion, elimination of unwanted waste products, and the absorption of food. It includes the mouth, throat, intestines, and stomach. When diabetes affects the GI tract, the patient may experience a sore throat. Diabetics are more prone to develop fungal infections (candidiasis) of the oral cavity and esophagus.
Dr. Sayan Hazra, Consultant – ENT Surgeon, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jessore Road, Kolkata