Proper wound healings elapse four main stages; the hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling phases. In order for wounds to properly heal, these stages must be elapsed in proper sequences and time frames. However, a lot of risk factors might interfere wound healing process and thus, causing improper or even incomplete wound healing. One of the risk factor of slower wound healing is diabetes mellitus, which is suffered by more than 150 million people worldwide.
What is diabetes mellitus and how dangerous is it?
Diabetes mellitus is body inability in producing or responding properly to the hormone insulin. People who are diabetic, therefore, do not have proper ability to use the energy found in food. Diabetes is a lifelong disease, which is dangerous as even when controlled, this disease increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. This risk elevates because diabetes lowers the level of the good cholesterol—or HDL, and raises the level of the bad cholesterol—or LDL, and triglycerides. Diabetic people are also known to have low ability to heal wound properly, so that the body is prone to infection, which may also ends up in amputation.
How diabetes mellitus affects wound healing?
No matter how small a wound might be, you should not ignore it when you are diabetic—suffered from any kinds of diabetes. Immediate proper treatment is definitely required for wound healing in people with diabetes. As a chronic illness, diabetes inhibits your body from using glucose or sugar resulted from consumed foods, which results in various complications, including delay in wound healing.
There are some conditions in diabetic person which influence wound healing. This is how this illness might inhibit proper wound healing:
Diabetes mellitus causes nerve damage.
In diabetic people, the body has no ability of processing sugar which comes from foods. As a result, blood sugar level might elevate continuously, leaving the body suffers from high level of blood sugar. This prolonged exposure to high sugar level may damage delicate nerve fibers, causing diabetic neuropathy (diabetes-induced nerve damage). Because of this neuropathy, the patient will not be able to feel the pain of minor wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, blisters, or scratches until these wounds get larger or infected.
Diabetes mellitus causes narrow arteries.
High blood sugar level which happens to people with diabetes can possibly thicken the arteries walls and cause the arteries to narrow down. During wound healing, the body needs to send extra oxygen-rich to heal the wound site. With narrowed arteries, diabetic person’s body cannot do this properly, blocking the blood supply which is supposed to go to the wound site to provide oxygen for new cell formation. As the result, wound healing is delayed, since new cells are inhibited to grow.
Diabetes mellitus lower immune system.
As an immune-compromised condition, diabetes mellitus lower the sufferer’s immune system. With lowered immune system, wound healing is not only delayed, but the patient is also more prone to infection. When a wound is infected, its healing slows done significantly. Combined with the two body condition is in a diabetic person, it is imaginable that even a small wound can be disastrous for a diabetes sufferer.
Treating a diabetic wound
If you are diabetic, it is really important to promote a proper wound healing, in order to prevent further life-threatening condition developed from failed-to-treat wounds.
- Take care of the wound as soon as possible. Do not ignore any kind of wounds you have, even though those are minor ones, since even a small wound can be dangerous if it gets infected.
- Keep the wound as clean as possible. Dirty wound can be easily infected by bacteria, which will be dangerous when combined with your diabetic status. Avoid using harsh solution for rinsing the wound. Instead, use only gentle soap and water to clean it thoroughly. Also, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly—Vaseline, or antibiotic ointment before bandaging it. Change the bandage regularly and inspect the wound for signs of infection.
- Consult the doctor. This is important if you develop wounds in some locations with high mobility or limited access, such as the foot. Also talk to your doctor if the wound shows some early signs of infection to get it treated immediately.