Wound Healing and Diabetes: Improving Wound Healing
Poor blood circulation due to diabetes can slow the process of wound healing. Slow circulation also slows the blood and the necessary nutrients to reach wounds. With slow blood circulation, wounds also heal slowly. Or worse, wounds may not heal at all.
People with diabetes must take extra precautions; avoid getting into accidents, or falls that you might end up getting a wound from. Small cuts, blisters, and abrasions can occur anywhere on your body, but wounds on the foot can quickly develop into a foot ulcer.
Foot ulcers if poorly treated or left not treated at all can lead to amputation. Avoid catching foot wounds as much as possible or closely monitor any wounds. For individuals with diabetes, wounds progress quickly but heal slowly.
What are the factors that can affect wound healing?
Your body’s ability to heal wounds can be affected by numerous reasons if you have diabetes.
- Blood Glucose Level – since the body has difficulty using insulin and convert it into energy, it will result in a high blood glucose level. Increased blood glucose level can cause narrowing of blood vessels, diabetic neuropathy increases inflammation in body cells, and hinders the immune system from functioning properly. With poor nutrients and oxygen flowing to the wound area, wound healing is slowed down.
- The inefficiency of the immune system – with diabetes and high blood sugar level, it impairs the function of white blood cells to fight bacteria and infection.
- Circulation problems – due to narrowed blood vessels, oxygen, and nutrients circulation is hindered from reaching the wounds and areas around the wounds. Because of less oxygen and nutrients, wounds do not heal quickly.
- Increased infection – due to high glucose levels, white blood cells are limited with its functions to fight against infection and bacteria. And since individuals with diabetes have wounds that heal slowly, the wound is open longer which makes it prone to the chance of infection.
- Chronic inflammation – for a diabetic person it’s hard to produce collagen. Due to degrading collagen, wound inflammation lasts longer and would become chronic.
How to improve wound healing?
- Healthy diet – maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Getting the right nutrition will help regulate your blood sugar level. It is also important to consume enough protein that helps repair tissue and skin.
- Regular exercise – daily activity and exercise promote healthy blood circulation. It stimulates blood and oxygen circulation to different body parts.
- Regular checks and sugar level monitoring – frequently check your feet for new wounds. Early detection prevents further infection and complications.
- Keep your wound dry and clean – maintain proper wound care as per your doctor’s advice. Regularly change dressings and administer special wound care treatment.
- Keep pressure off – let the wound breathe and avoid pressure around the wound area that can cause further damage to your skin tissue.
- Stop smoking – smoking can impair your immune system and cardiovascular system. It also affects your cells’ ability to carry oxygen.
Take extra care when it comes to treating your wound if you have diabetes. Be extra careful and always self-check.
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.