People living with diabetes cannot produce or utilize insulin adequately. This causes a rise in blood glucose levels. Insulin is not just a hormone for controlling blood sugar levels. It is a potent anabolic hormone. Thus, insulin deficiency or resistance slows down all anabolic processes and the ability of the body to heal itself.
Therefore, in diabetes, wounds tend to heal quite slowly. Even worst, more minor cuts, scratches, and blisters may become slow-healing and infected wounds.
Preventing minor cuts and scratches entirely is difficult. However, timely care of wounds may help prevent complications.
In Diabetes, Even Minor Cuts And Scratches May Become Complicated
In diabetes, there is nothing like a little cut or just a scratch. Those terms are for healthy adults. In diabetes, even minor scratches may readily get infected. In some, a small cut may take ages to heal, even with the best of care.
In those living with diabetes, wounds are more likely to get infected. In addition, there is a greater risk that infection may be resistant to various commonly used methods. In diabetic wounds, there are much higher chances of biofilm formation, a thin file of microbes protected by a resistant polysaccharide matrix. Such infections might not even respond to some of the potent antiseptics. 1
If not managed in a timely manner, a wound may become a chronic non-healing ulcer. In some cases, such wounds also become a reason for amputations.
Taking Care Of The Wound In Diabetes
Those living with diabetes must regularly inspect even the minutest of cuts and scratches. It will help take measures early, prevent severe infection. Likewise, those living with a wound should check it daily to ensure that it does not worsen.
One of the reasons wounds heal poorly in diabetes is the accumulation of dead tissues around the wound. These dead tissues provide nutrition to growing pathogens. Thus, those living with diabetes must get these dead skin areas removed by a medical specialist.
One should relieve pressure from the wound area to ensure its faster healing.
Regular dressing of the wound may also promote healing. It is vital to maintain an appropriate moisture level. However, that is not enough in diabetes. One needs special wound dressings and antiseptics to prevent infection and promote healing.
Preventing Wounds And Boosting Healing Processes
Unlike healthy adults, those with diabetes should take extra steps to prevent wounds and boost healing processes.
It may involve using both topical creams, ointments and taking certain supplements to boost immunity and healing processes.
Thus, one may regularly use a cream with skin moisturizing properties, along with antiseptic action.
For boosting healing processes, one needs to control the intake of carbs and increase the intake of micronutrients. Some nutrients are especially good for vascular health. Consuming more antioxidants is another way of boosting healing processes. Some of the good additions to the diet could be curcumin, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Generally, it is good to get these nutrients via diet. 2
- Rajpaul K. Biofilm in wound care. Br J Community Nurs. 2015;Suppl Wound Care:S6, S8, S10-11. doi:10.12968/bjcn.2015.20.Sup3.S6
- Maier HM, Ilich JZ, Kim J-S, Spicer MT. Nutrition supplementation for diabetic wound healing: a systematic review of current literature. Skinmed. 2013;11(4):217-224; quiz 224-225.