Table of Contents
1. Blood Glucose Levels.
The bodies of diabetic patients are inefficient at maintaining optimal glucose levels. This in-balance of glucose increases the risk of several NCDs. These include:
- Arteriosclerosis: the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels.
- Impaired blood circulation: nutrients & other blood cells are not transported effectively within the body.
- Neuropathy: dulling and/or loss of nerve sensation, particularly in the limbs.
Neuropathy is the dulling or complete loss of function of nerves. Your ability to sense pain is reduced.
Injuries may go unnoticed for a long period and become serious if left unchecked.
Limited mobility, however, can make this difficult for some patients to check the more vulnerable areas (e.g. soles of your feet).
Diabetic patients are strongly advised to wear well-fitting shoes & socks.
In the United States, about 15 percent of diabetic patients will develop a foot ulcer.
3. Circulation Problems.
Proper wound healing needs sufficient blood flow. The blood brings nutrients, oxygen and immune cells to the wound to aid in wound healing as well as to prevent infection.
Vital components needed for wound healing becomes inefficient in a patient with poor circulation. The wound stays longer than normal at each wound healing stage.
This prolongs the wound’s exposure which increases the risk for infection & further complications.
4. Immune System Inefficiency.
Research suggests that enzymes and hormones produced by the body in reaction to high blood sugar levels can shut down your body’s immune system’s effectiveness. What this means is that your immune cells don’t function as effectively, leaving you more vulnerable to infection.
5. Chronic Inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is when the inflammation stage of wound healing lasts longer than it should. If a wound stays too long at the inflammation stage it may eventually become chronic and refuse to close.
6. Increased Infection.
Several factors that lead to increased risk of infection. These include:
- Slower movement of white blood cells because of impeded blood circulation.
- Less effective immune response.
- Abnormally long inflammation stage.
- Loss of nerve sensitivity
Once a diabetic wound becomes infected, that wound has a much higher risk of becoming chronic. This means that the wound just does not heal.
Further complications include bone infections (osteomyelitis), sepsis and gangrene.
In the United States, the number one reason for limb amputation is an infected diabetic ulcer.
Wound healing in diabetic patients can be a difficult and slow process fraught with serious infections & complications.
But it doesn’t have to be!
Daily skin checks & proper wound care is essential to promote healing by preventing infections.
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