Did you check your blood sugar levels before dinner and see yellowish pus oozing from a wound on your hand that seems to have been there forever?
Perhaps you’re wondering if there’s a problem. Should it really take this long for wounds to heal?
Typically, wounds should be well on the way to healing within two weeks. However, some conditions, like diabetes, can slow down healing and increase the likelihood of infections, including diabetic foot ulcers, occurring.
Carry on reading to learn why it takes longer for sores and wounds to heal in people with diabetes and how it’s possible to speed up the process.
Why does diabetes slow down the wound-healing process?
Firstly, just because you have diabetes, it doesn’t have to mean that you’ll develop a slow-healing wound like a chronic diabetic ulcer. But, certain factors put you at higher risk of healing problems. These include:
High blood glucose
When a person has diabetes, it’s difficult for the body to effectively control its blood sugar or blood glucose. Consistently high blood sugar levels can impact the immune system and lead to problems with nerves and circulation – factors that all disrupt good wound healing.
It can take longer for wounds to heal if you suffer from poor circulation. Normally, when a person is injured, the blood carries extra white blood cells and nutrients to the wound site to ward off infection and help rebuild new cells to heal the wound. However, high glucose levels in people with diabetes thickens the blood, making it more difficult for the heart to push it from one end of your body to the other. Many patients with diabetes also suffer reduced blood flow to their arms and legs in a condition known as peripheral vascular disease.
Neuropathy affects the nerves and is caused when the blood sugar levels are consistently higher than they should be. One of the most significant problems of diabetic neuropathy is the inability to feel, which means you often aren’t aware that you have cut yourself or have an ingrown toenail or blister. If treatment is delayed in the early stages of a diabetic sore or blister, it can become infected and escalate into a more severe wound. In fact, of the 15% of diabetic patients who suffer from diabetic foot ulcers, almost half are hospitalized due to severe complications, and nearly 25% must undergo amputation.
Tips To Help Diabetic Wounds Heal Faster
The following diabetic treatment options can help speed up your body’s natural healing response.
Treat cuts, scrapes and wounds immediately - It’s always best to start caring for new wounds before things escalate. When you notice a sore or cut wash your hands with soap and water and apply pressure to the area to stop any bleeding. Then apply antibiotic cream and cover it with a bandage. If your injury is severe or infected, visit your doctor, who will advise on the appropriate dressing, which may be foam, hydrogel or alginate.
Remove pressure from the area - Avoid putting pressure, stress or weight on wounds, as this can delay healing. This can be tricky for foot wounds, so you might have to consider custom foot padding and special diabetic shoes or boots enable mobility.
Hyperbaric wound care – An alternative naural therapy that involves inhaling pressured oxygen which bodily areas where circulation is reduced or blocked.
Precautions to minimize the risk of developing a non-healing diabetic wound
Check and wash your feet daily, looking carefully for blisters, cuts or cracks. The nail area is particularly vulnerable to infection so visit a chiropodist regularly.
Keeping your diabetes under control is the best strategy for preventing diabetic sores. Adjustments to diet, exercise (like walking), and medication all have a large impact on the immune system and the body’s healing abilities.
Avoid sources of infection such as hot tubs and public swimming pools which are breeding grounds for bacteria that can find their way into diabetic injuries and wreak havoc.
How are diabetic leg sores treated?
If you already have a diabetic leg sore don’t assume it will go of its own accord. Call The Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Treatment (MINT) right away. We provide comprehensive diabetic wound care. After your initial consultation, your physician creates your customized treatment plan.
Given that the majority of diabetic sores are caused by poor circulation, we will perform an ultrasound study to access your vascular flow. If there is a problem with your blood flow, an angiogram can be performed and the flow can be improved without major surgery.
Don’t delay treatment if you have a diabetic wound. Instead, call MINT or make an appointment online — it could save your leg or your life. We have recently opened a new practice in Chicago, IL.