Diabetes and Wound Healing: Understanding the Ties that Bind
Diabetes mellitus or the body’s inability to produce or utilize insulin is one of the world’s most dreaded diseases.
Today, at least 30 million Americans have diabetes and at some point, they also develop ulcers that eventually become chronic wounds. If not managed or treated effectively, these diabetic patients eventually suffer from complications of their infected wounds.
With the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes growing more every day, it’s becoming more important to understand the link between diabetes and wound healing.
After all, these two have become so intertwined that it’s important to learn about each of their roles to really implement effective diabetic wound care.
Diabetes and Wound Healing: A Closer Look
It’s inevitable to get a scratch, cut or any other type of wound at some point in your life. But for patients suffering from diabetes, even the smallest cut can balloon into a much bigger complication that could even cost them their lives.
Diabetic patients usually incur wounds on their feet due to the lack of sensation caused by their disease. And if they do get a foot ulcer, their wounds tend to progress quicker and heal slower than non-diabetic individuals. In fact, up to 24% of diabetic patients with a foot ulcer end up getting a lower limb amputation.
Understanding Insulin Levels
One of the most common effects of diabetes is the body’s inability to heal wounds. This is mainly because of high insulin levels, which play a huge role in wound healing.
When your blood sugar is high, your cells are not nourished properly, your immune system’s capability is depleted and your body easily gets inflamed. All these factors contribute to slower wound healing, but things get even worse when over time, you experience neuropathy.
When your insulin levels are consistently high, it causes significant damage to your nerves and blood vessels resulting in loss of sensation, especially on your lower extremities. When this happens, most patients usually only know that they have a wound on their foot when it’s already developed into an ulcer.
High insulin levels also result in poor blood circulation that eventually leads to peripheral vascular disease in the long run. When your blood isn’t flowing efficiently around your body, your wounds also tend to heal slower.
Supporting the Wound Healing Process
Good knowledge is one of the pillars of effective diabetic wound care. Although your wound may not heal as fast as regular patients, you can help your body by making sure that you do self-checks to see if you have any new wounds, especially on your lower extremities.
If you do incur a wound, make sure to seek professional help for proper diabetic wound care. Aside from adhering to your doctor’s instructions, you need to be responsible for changing your dressings, removing dead tissue and protecting your wound from pressure so it doesn’t get worse.
At the end of the day, a good diabetic wound care plan stems from having the right knowledge about your condition, finding the best professionals to help you with wound care and making sure that you adhere to your treatment plan.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.