Millions of people around the world are suffering from diabetes mellitus. In fact, at least 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by the disease in 2016, according to the World Health Organization, and it continues to affect many people, especially in middle and low-income countries.
Diabetes inhibits your body from producing or metabolizing insulin properly. As a result, it will be harder to manage your blood sugar, which could also affect your body’s capability to heal itself. But what exactly are the most common causes of delayed wound healing in diabetic patients?
Elevated Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar is elevated, your body’s function is affected in different ways. High glucose levels in the blood cause the blood vessels to stiffen, which will make it harder for blood to flow. This insufficient blood supply to the cells will then make it difficult for the body to heal wounds.
As diabetes gets worse, blood flow also becomes more restricted. The lack of proper nutrients and oxygen in the cells will eventually cause them to die, which results in necrosis in the wound and possible amputation.
Depleted Immune System Function
Your immune system plays a vital role in keeping you healthy, as it fights off germs and other foreign invaders. But when you have diabetes, the disease process causes your body to produce hormones and enzymes that affect the way your immune system works.
This is why it’s very important for a diabetic patient to always have proper diabetic wound treatment. Aside from speeding up the healing process, the main goal of wound management in diabetic patients is to avoid infection that could lead to gangrene and eventually, amputation.
Elevated glucose levels in diabetic patients will cause a condition called diabetic neuropathy. When this happens, you will start to feel numbness and a tingling sensation that affects your capability to feel if you’re injured. This is why a lot of diabetic patients don’t notice that they already have a wound on their feet even if it’s been there for several days. They only start to notice when the wound is already infected and the pain is more intense.
As part of wound treatment, diabetic patients are asked to always check their body for any kinds of injuries, so they can be treated right away before they turn into ulcers that are at higher risk for infections.
Diabetic Wound Treatment
It is very important for patients to understand the most common causes of delayed wound healing. It is the first step to being aware of the risks involved in being injured and the possible complications of not getting proper diabetic wound treatment.
The good news is that slow-healing wounds are treatable. In fact, there are different treatment options available today including hyperbaric oxygen therapy and compression therapy. But proper wound care and management is still the most important step to assure diabetic patients of the best outcome for their wounds and prevent the worst complications including the much-feared amputation.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all wound care issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.