Diabetes in the practice of otolaryngology.


Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The Edith Wolsfon Medical Center, Holon, Israel; Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: [Email]


Diabetes mellitus is 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 and macroangiopathy (atherosclerosis). Consequential ischemia of nerves and hyperglycemia by itself 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 DM. People with DM 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 general population. Recovery from infections or from injuries may be compromised by coexisting DM. In this review we discuss complications of DM in the head and neck region. Otolaryngologists and general practitioners should be alert to specific conditions related to DM and be minded of the relevant complications and consequences.