How Does Diabetes Affect Wound Healing?

Wounds or sores that take a longer time to heal can indicate an underlying disease such as diabetes, which has a direct impact on the body’s ability to heal wounds. Diabetes is a direct response to the organisms inability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone which has the function to turn glucose, or sugar, into energy. This has a direct impact on the body’s ability to heal wounds.

inSight for Wound Management

Wounds in patients with diabetes not only heal more slowly but have a potential to get worse more rapidly, so they require much more attention than a normal wound. There are several things that affect wound healing in a patient with diabetes which include:

  • Blood Glucose levels
  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Immune System Deficiency
  • Infection

1. Blood Glucose Levels

Blood glucose levels are the main factor in the process of wound healing. When blood glucose levels are above normal the arteries in the body become more narrow and stiffen preventing normal blood flow which results in:

  • Prevents nutrients and oxygen from energizing cells
  • Prevents the immune system from functioning efficiently
  • Increases inflammation in the body’s cells

2. Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy is the event which leads to a patient’s nerves being affected and resulting in loss of sensation. This means that a person cannot feel a blister, infection or a surgical wound being developed. Because a patient cannot feel a wound becoming worse it may delay the person from asking for medical assistance leading to the wound infecting further or worse.

3. Immune System Deficiency

Many people who are affected by diabetes have a problem with their immune system. This is due to the lack of immune fighter cells being sent to heal wounds, while having their ability to take action lowered. This can result in the immune system not functioning properly, making wound healing slower and risk of infection higher.

4. Infection

People with diabetes are exposed to a higher risk of developing a bad infection. This is mainly due to the weakened immune system. The body has a hard time fighting off bad bacteria that causes an infection.

Higher blood sugar levels are also to blame for infections. There are bacteria that thrive on the higher sugar levels in the blood, increasing the risk of an infection developing, or making an already developed infection worse.

These are just some of the contributing factors that affect wound healing. Most of these can be avoided or their impact decreased by regular check ups with your doctor, as well as maintaining a healthy nutrition. However, before you do anything it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or physician.

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