Diabetes appears because the body is not capable of using or producing insulin. This is important because insulin allows our body to transform sugar or glucose into energy. When the body cannot easily metabolize glucose, blood sugar levels get higher. Unfortunately, this practically means that diabetes can hinder your ability to quickly heal after getting wounded.
Even if blisters, scratches, grazes, and cuts can simply appear on your entire body, the most common injury place is the foot. A really small wound can develop fast into foot ulcer, which requires special diabetic foot ulcer wound care.
When you suffer from foot ulcers, the situation can turn into something really serious really fast. Statistics show that almost 24% of those that suffer from diabetes and end up with an ulcer will have their lower limb amputated. This is why you need to take the situation seriously and get treated as soon as possible.
Why Is Wound Healing Slow?
When you suffer from diabetes, there are different factors that will affect your natural ability to quickly heal wounds. For instance:
High Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels directly impact how fast you can heal a wound. When blood sugar levels are much higher than normal, this:
- Prevents oxygen and nutrients from energizing your body cells.
- Prevents the immune system from efficiently functioning.
- Increases body cell inflammation.
All of these will slow down the healing of wounds.
When your blood sugar levels are often higher than they should be, peripheral neuropathy can appear. As time passes, nerves and vessels are damaged. As a result, the areas that are affected end up losing sensation.
We often see neuropathy in feet and hands. As this happens, wounds might not even be felt when they happen. When you have diabetes and neuropathy, it is more difficult to heal since you might not even know you have a problem.
Those that suffer from diabetes are 2 times more likely to be affected by poor circulation through peripheral vascular disease. This makes blood vessels narrower, so blood flow is reduced to your limbs. The natural ability of your red blood cells to easily go through vessels is affected. If the glucose level is higher than normal, blood is thicker, which leads to blood flow being affected more.
Immune System Deficiencies
Immune system activation is common in those suffering from diabetes. Immune fighter cell numbers are reduced so wounds cannot heal as fast. These cells even find it harder to take an action. When the immune system is not capable of functioning properly, wounds heal slower and infection risks are higher.
Talking about infections, whenever the immune system functions in an inappropriate way, it is more difficult to fight off the bacteria that leads to the appearance of infection. Bacteria easily thrives on the presence of extra sugar inside your bloodstream. Also, immune cells are prevented from being able to deal with the invading bacteria when blood sugar levels are high.
How To Speed Up The Healing Process
In order to help the healing process when suffering from diabetes, remember the following:
- Regular self-checks are necessary – It is very important to catch your wounds early so that you can avoid complications and infections. Daily self-checks are needed and you should look for the presence of new wounds. This is especially the case with your feet.
- Remove all dead tissue – Excess tissue and dead cells appear often with the diabetic wounds. Get this fixed fast since it promotes the appearance of toxins and bacteria, which increase infection.
- Fresh dressing – Always change dressings regularly so you can reduce the amount of bacteria present. This also helps maintain moisture levels at appropriate levels.
- Pressure off – Pressure will lead to wear and tear. This can damage skin and will make the wound deeper.