Diabetes and Wound Healing
When a person sustains an injury, the body begins a healing process to repair and replace the damaged skin within a few days or weeks. The first stage causes the wound to be inflamed in response to fighting off infections, the second stage causes new cells to form, and the last stage causes scar tissue to form to heal the wounds completely.
However, wounds or sores that take more than weeks or months to heal require quick medical attention. While there are major injuries caused by accidents, there is a speculated time frame for healing. Still, when this speculated time frame passes and the wound refuses to heal, there is an indication of an undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes.
The body’s inability to metabolize glucose causes high blood sugar, which in turn restricts the body’s ability to heal sores or wounds. Not only does ineffective diabetes self-management and self-monitoring cause an injury to remain the same, but ineffectiveness can also lead to severe complications.
According to the report released by Centres for Disease Control, a lot of people living with a type of diabetes in the United States experience severe health complications that stem from infected wounds.
With or without infections, a slow healing wound can affect a person’s health. Hence, it is essential for a person living with diabetes to effectively manage and control their blood sugar level to reduce the risk of wound complications like foot ulcers.
In an article released by the American Journal of Managed Care (AMJC), about 230 people living with diabetes get their foot amputated every year. 50% of these diabetic-amputated population dies within 2years of amputation.
Causes of slow wound healing
Blood Sugar Level: Abnormal increase in blood sugar level prevents the immune system from functioning effectively, increased cell inflammation and prevents nutrients from energizing the body cells
Neuropathy: Extremely high blood sugar level damages the numbing sensation in the nerves. So when a person living with diabetes sustains an injury, they may not feel the pain. As time progresses, the untreated wound worsens and gets infected.
Poor Blood Circulation: People living with diabetes develop poor blood circulation, which reduces and restricts the flow of blood to areas of the body affected by the wound.
Immune system weakness: Diabetes weakens the immune system. When this happens, the immune system cell fighters reduces. If the immune system doesn’t function as it should, wound healing will become slower.
Infection: Weakened body system prevents the immune cells from fighting against infection. While a wound may respond slowly to treatment, an infected wound may never heal.
Although slow wound healing is a given for people living with diabetes, you can help the healing process through close self-monitoring and self-management of your body system.
Here are the self-management and self-monitoring process to help you
Check yourself regularly: Checking yourself regularly is a perfect way to manage your health. Check your toes and look for wounds on the feet. Getting to know about a fresh wound will help you avoid complications
Keep your injury dressing fresh: Self-management requires paying close attention to details. Keep dressings clean to reduce bacteria and to maintain the level of moisture needed for the wound
Avoid applying pressure: Avoid using pressure around the wound area as it can cause wear and tear that may lead to foot ulcer or deeper wound.
Eat a healthy diet: You can easily influence your blood sugar level with what you eat. So maintain your glucose level to enable your wounds to heal faster. Take more of fiber and vegetables rather than refined carbohydrates
Exercise to stay active: Staying active will help the sugar in your bloodstream penetrate your cells more efficiently thus enabling a better healing process
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash