Diabetic Wound Care: Slow Diabetic Wound Healing & Remedies Explained

Blood Sugar Levels Affect More Than Just the Meter

Diabetes is the result of your body’s inability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to burn glucose or sugar into energy. If your body has difficulty metabolizing glucose, it leads to high blood sugar levels. This, as a result, affects your body’s ability to heal wounds. People with diabetes tend to heal more slowly and progress more quickly. So, it is imperative to know what to look out for. Cuts, scratches, and blisters can occur anywhere on the body, but these cuts can turn to be fatal in the case of a diabetic because of the slow healing process. So, diabetic wound care is essential. It can be kept in check by performing regular self-checks and monitoring wounds closely.

Diabetes and wound healing is a complex match. So keep reading to learn more about the reasons diabetic people heal slowly and how to improve your body’s healing powers in the long run.

Reasons Why Diabetic Wound Healing is Slow?

  • High Blood Sugar Levels
    Diabetes doesn't allow the body to effectively process glucose, so patients frequently have problems maintaining an optimal blood sugar levels. Even though diabetes can be controlled via diet, lifestyle changes, and insulin, most patients experience difficulty adapting to their new lifestyle and diet. They are not able to control enough to keep their blood glucose levels working effectively. High glucose levels cause narrowing of blood vessels, stiffening of the arteries, and diabetic neuropathy that is nerve damage throughout the body. The effect of these changes causes an increased risk of wounds and complications in the diabetic wound care & healing process.
  • Blood Circulation Problems
    Circulation of the blood at the wound site is essential to initiate the process of wound healing. As blood vessels are narrow in diabetic patients, the healing process is impaired because less oxygen can reach the wound. So the tissues do not heal as quickly as a normal person.
  • Immune System Inefficiency
    High blood glucose levels lower the body's ability to fight infections, also the immune cells of the body do not facilitate effective wound healing. This causes an increased risk of exposure to bacterial infections and complicates wound care in diabetic patients.
  • Chronic Inflammation
    Wound healing is complex but a regulated process. It is kept in check by controlled collagen deposition (a type of structural protein) (1). One of the stage of wound healing is "inflammation". Now due to high blood sugar levels, this stage of inflammation gets prolonged (chronic inflammation). And due to this state chronic inflammation, the diabetic wound healing is slow.
  • Increased Infection
    The severity as well as the frequency of infections is much higher in diabetes mellitus patients. This increased risk is because of high blood sugar levels which results in poor immune response (decreased functioning and slower movements of white blood cells, decreased anti-oxidant levels), blood vessel abnormalities and nerve damage (2). And, since the wound site is open for a longer duration, it increases the chance of microbial contamination.

How to Help the Diabetic Wound Care Process Along

You can follow these tips to expedite the healing process:-

  • Regular self-checks
    Catching the wounds at an early stage is the key to avoiding infections and the complications that come with it. Make sure you do regular self-checks and look for any new cuts or bleeds, especially on your feet, between and under your toes.
  • Remove dead tissue
    Deal cells and tissue often occur with diabetic wounds. This promotes bacteria and toxins that increase the wound's infection. Removal of dead tissue should only be done in the presence of a doctor.
  • Keep dressings fresh
    Keep changing your dressings. This helps reduce bacteria and maintains proper moisture levels in the wound. Doctors often recommend special wound care dressings for people suffering from diabetes.
  • Keep pressure off the wounded area
    Pressure can cause damage to the skin and may lead to a deeper wound or even an ulcer. So, keep the pressure off that area of the wound site.

Healing wounds can be a lengthy and difficult process for diabetic patients. It is imperative to take special care in treating even minor wounds in order to avoid infections. If you are a diabetic patient, follow these tips to expedite the healing process of your wounds.

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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