People with diabetes might notice that they develop wounds easily and these wounds do not easily heal properly, following the common timeline for wound healing. In diabetic person, a tiny wound which is not noticed immediately can be a serious injury eventually. Cuts or blisters develop in diabetic person’s body may not heal within days as it would in non-diabetic person’s one. Diabetes is an illness which cause major changes in body’s function. One of the well-known effect of diabetes is delayed wound healing. Some diabetic patients are reported to have the feet amputated because of small wound which appeared as blisters initially.
What makes wounds heal faster?
Major steps of wound healing include:
- Immediately after injuries, the body increases blood flow to the wound site. This promotes white blood cells to go to the wounded site, while making the wound red and warm as a natural part of healing.
- White blood cells and platelets allow the blood to clot and top the bleeding.
- During the next phase, dead cells and damaged tissues are removed from the wound, while oxygen and other nutrients brought by the bloodstream produce new skin cells, blood vessels, and skin layer. Afterwards, the edges join together, letting the wound enclose.
Faster wound healing can be promoted by balancing nutrients which will be carried by the blood vessels into the wound site. Protein, amino acid, and zinc are three crucial substances needed for promoting faster healing. Hence, healthy lifestyle and diet are really important during the healing process. Sufficient portion of meat, beans, and eggs are beneficial to be taken during all phases of wound recovery.
Why wound healing is slower in diabetic patients?
Wounds are more difficult to heal in diabetic patients for some reasons:
- Untreated wounds are infected more easily, and in diabetic people’s body, the immune system is lowered, so that their wounds are more prone to infection.
- Diabetic people have inhibited blood vessels, which cause poorer blood circulation to the wound site.
- Poor blood circulation, which results in fewer nutrients brought into the wound site.
- Diabetic patients might have certain substances deficit, which are required in proper wound healing.
These risk factors inhibit proper wound healing in people with diabetes, making the wound and the entire body more prone to:
- Fungal infection—happens mostly on the surface of the skin. Fungal infection may initially occurs in a form of blisters and calluses, which left untreated, may be infected by fungus found externally. Fungal infection may cause infection on the skin surface and results in pus-filled surfaces, which heals very slowly.
- Bacterial infection—Staphylococcus bacteria is the most common culprit to cause complication to skin wounds. This bacteria causes the wound to worsen and may complicate other parts of the body.
- Decay—although initially occurred as blisters or calluses, small wounds in people with diabetes should not be ignored, as in some cases, diabetic person’s foot needs to be amputated because of its decaying tissues caused by prolonged, ineffective wound healing.
The risk of slow wound healing in diabetic people can be lowered by:
- Keeping blood glucose levels lower or under good control.
- Performing a good wound care.
- Change the diet into something healthier and lower in cholesterol.
- Exercise well and frequently.
Self-checking which is done frequently is also a good practice to make sure no wounds are unnoticed and treated too late.
- Check the areas in which you inject insulin injections, such as hands, arms, or feet, making sure there is no breakage and leakage which can be infected by fungus and bacteria.
- Once you suspect suspicious wound, bruises, or blisters around the body, immediately seek for medical help. This will prevent these wounds from getting infected before you get medical treatment.
- If you have skin break on the feet, make sure you reduce all pressure which may compromise blood circulation. Take care of the scratch and scrapes properly and watch out for infection signs.
- Maintain a good nutrition and make sure you are always hydrated. Proper nutrition strengthens immune system, which will be beneficial for wound healing.