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How Does Diabetes Affect Wound Healing?

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1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

occlusive dressing wound care ocFor diabetics around the world, as well as their loved ones, one popular question is, “How does diabetes affect wound healing?” For the roughly 40 million Americans with diabetes, complications often arise as a result of wound infection. In this article, we’ll explore wound healing as it relates to diabetes, including some of the effects diabetes has on wound healing and the ways to reduce complications. 

How Does Diabetes Affect Wound Healing?

For those with diabetes, even minor wounds, cuts, and burns can lead to serious health problems. In fact, diabetics are more likely to develop slow-healing and chronic wounds than other members of the population. Wound infection can become a serious problem when it spreads to the surrounding tissue and bone. To stop a wound from becoming a fatal threat, get help immediately. But, the problem for diabetics, and others with lowered immunity, is that slow healing may compromise overall health and quality of life. For example, if a diabetic cuts their leg or foot, it could make for a difficult time walking. Plus, it may make exercising all the more difficult, thus cutting the person off from physical activity, which is so important for diabetics to partake in. 

Amputation in Diabetics

Amputation is a concern when it comes to wound healing for diabetics. But, before we discuss amputation, which is the worst case scenario in diabetic wound care, let’s talk about a few other things. 

First of all, foot ulcers are a real concern. That’s one reason why diabetics should keep their blood sugar levels under control. Poor blood sugar maintenance can lead to slow-healing wounds and even chronic wounds. Peripheral neuropathy can make this situation even worse. The condition causes foot numbness. So, what happens is, the diabetic person does not feel pain in their foot, even though their wound has become severely infected. It’s a type of nerve damage. 

If you’re wondering why amputation is more likely for diabetics than others in the population, the answer is about science. There is a clear link between a person’s blood glucose level and their ability to heal. Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s response to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that converts glucose into energy. Because a diabetic’s ability to process glucose is interrupted, this disruption makes it more difficult for the body to manage glucose levels, often causing glucose levels to spike. The spike in glucose impairs the way white blood cells function – and white blood cells are incredibly important to the body’s immune system. When these cells can’t function properly, it’s difficult for the body to fight infection, bacteria, and heal wounds. This is why diabetics often have trouble with wound healing – a lack of properly-working white blood cells stops wounds from closing up the right way. 

Tunneling Wound wound care ocFactors That May Increase Chronic Wounds in Diabetics 

  • Excessive sweating 
  • Cracked skin
  • Dried skin 
  • Toenail infection 
  • Other bacterial infections 
  • Foot abnormalities
  • Issues with immunity 
  • Reduction in collagen production 

Diabetes-Related Complications 

  • Diabetics with coexisting conditions like heart disease and kidney disease are especially at risk of complications. 
  • When wounds are left untreated, they sometimes spread locally to the bone and muscle. This condition is called osteomyelitis
  • If osteomyelitis is left to fester, it could lead to gangrene, which is a serious condition that could lead to the loss of limbs. 
  • Untreated infection could also cause sepsis, which is an extremely concerning condition that happens when infection gets into the bloodstream. 

Treatment and Prevention 

Tunneling Wound wound care ocFor diabetics with wounds, treatment and prevention are incredibly important for healing. In other words, you can’t just leave the wound alone and expect it to heal properly. Instead, try to follow this guide below. 

  • Take care of feet
  • Wash feet everyday 
  • Completely dry skin after showering
  • Dry skin completely before putting on moisturizer or oils
  • Never walk barefoot 
  • Keep an eye on the foot – never neglect the first signs of infection 
  • Always wear comfortable shoes 
  • Wear shoes and socks if suggested by a doctor 
  • Limit time spent in high heels and thong sandals 
  • Have your doctor or wound care specialist check your feet whenever you go in for a checkup 
  • Control glucose levels 
  • Limit carbohydrates 

Contact Wound Care OC for wound treatment in Orange County, CA

Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.

To make an appointment

1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

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