Diabetes has been one of the most discussed health topic. Although diagnosed with diabetes will not be the end of one’s world, but this health problem does require a major lifestyle change. People with diabetes—either type 1 or 2 require certain diets and lifestyle to avoid the disease from causing outbreaks. Among several consequences brought by diabetes, wound healing is one of those requiring extra cautions. As known, people with diabetes might need a longer period to have their wounds healed. This makes wound care a major issue in diabetic persons.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a health disturbance caused by the fact that one’s pancreas is not able to produce insulin, a hormone which is used by the body to regulate blood sugar. Body’s inability of functioning this insulin properly might also occur in diabetes. Therefore, the most common symptom of diabetes is a higher level of glucose in blood. There are three common types of diabetes; type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type1 occurs because of excessive decrease of insulin level. The main cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown and this is, thus hard to prevent. Type 2 diabetes occurs as the result of ineffective use of insulin by the body. Type 2 diabetes is commonly developed because of poor lifestyle and excessed body weight. Gestational diabetes is the type of diabetes occurring during pregnancy. This type of diabetes shows the level of blood sugar above the normal rate, yet below the diagnostic of diabetes.
Symptoms and risks
In many people, diabetes symptoms occur suddenly. Some people even do not notice any symptoms until getting their blood sugar level tested. Type 1 diabetes is signed by excessive decrease of insulin level which can happen within only days or weeks. This type of diabetes is also signed by severe nausea and strangely smelled breath, which is caused by a high ketones level. However, some other symptoms might be shared by type 1 and 2 diabetes, such as:
- Frequent hunger and fatigue, which is caused by less energy produced from glucose in your blood as a consequence of decreased insulin level.
- Being thirstier and peeing more frequently because your glucose is not reabsorb by your body, instead it is processed as urine by the kidney.
- Dry mouth and itchy skin because your body is less moisture as a consequence of less re-absorbance of fluids.
People with diabetes has an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. This health problem also causes delay in wound healing which is common in people with both types of diabetes.
Causes of delayed wound healing in diabetes
Diabetic persons possess high levels of blood sugar which may affect proper blood circulation. High level of blood sugar affects certain nerves and causes blood circulation to certain blood vessels to slow down. As a consequence, when an area is wounded, it is hard for the blood vessels to pass blood through the wounded area and produce coagulant to make the blood clot. Limited supply of circulated blood also makes it difficult for the skin to produce new skin cells which is needed for skin repairs. In a normal person, a small wound usually takes minutes to reach blood-clot stage. However, when a person is diabetic—or suspected to be diabetic, this might take a quite longer period. A considerably severe wound might takes weeks to heal because of this slow-down healing process. To sum up, diabetes is signed with elevating level of blood sugar, which may thicken arteries walls or stiffen the arteries itself. High amount of blood sugar may also cause narrowed blood vessels. Narrowed blood vessels consequently limit blood circulation and oxygen supply, which is needed by white blood cells to produce antibody in fighting any strange infection. This limited supply of white blood cells causes healing process to slow down. In diabetic person’s body, the immune system also decreases. This makes this person more susceptible to infection, which makes the wound even worse. Severe infections may affect other body parts, such as tissues and bones, causing fever, and slow healing process down. If untreated, infections may lead to death.