More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. There are different types of diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Many people in Fort Worth, TX get type 2 diabetes because they live a sedentary lifestyle. Diabetes affects the immune system, and therefore people who have diabetes are at risk of chronic non-healing wounds or wounds which can take a long time to heal.
The longer these wounds go without treatment, the higher the likelihood of developing complications. To reduce the risk of this, you should monitor your blood sugar to a safe level and maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. If you already have a chronic wound, you should do regular wound care in Fort Worth to prevent complications and enhance healing.
What Causes Chronic Wounds?
Failure of the body to produce enough insulin or to respond to the effect of insulin is the primary cause of diabetes. Insulin regulates the amount of glucose in the body and is also responsible for regulating protein and fat metabolism. When you have high glucose levels in the body, the function of your white blood cells that fight infection reduces, making you prone to infections.
Diabetes also affects the cardiovascular system that is responsible for blood circulation in the body. You can get poor blood circulation if you have poorly controlled diabetes. Reduction in the amount of blood that is supplied in the body delays the supply of nutrients that heal wounds. This can delay the healing of a wound and also put you at risk of infection.
Because diabetes also impairs the functioning of nerves in the body, especially those in the peripheries, people with high levels of glucose in the body develop numbness and tingling in their extremities. Nerves help in the sensation of pain, heat, and touch. If your nerves are not working well, you may develop injuries without knowing because you cannot sense the pain.
You are at high risk of developing diabetic wounds if you already have skin that has lost its integrity, if your sweating is reduced, if you have anatomical abnormalities in your feet, and if you have infections of the toenails. Diabetes further prolongs wound healing by reducing the number of hormones that help in tissue growth and healing, by lowering the level of collagen, interrupting the skin barrier, and preventing the formation of new blood vessels.
What Are the Complications of Diabetic Wounds?
Because diabetes reduces the number of white blood cells that fight infections, the affected people become prone to infections. Because the wounds are open, and the person cannot sense pain, the probability of getting an infection increases. These infections may be localized to one side or spread through the bloodstream to distant organs in the body.
Osteomyelitis is a condition that can develop if the infection spreads to the bone. If you do not seek treatment for the infection, it can cause a condition called gangrene, where the tissues die. When a limb undergoes gangrene, the limb will be cut in a process called amputation. Amputation can lower your quality of life and reduce your performance at work or in life.
Some people can also develop a severe bloodstream infection called sepsis. You can prevent diabetic wounds by maintaining good general hygiene by washing your feet every day and drying it. You should also keep your toenails short and avoid walking without shoes. Wear comfortable shoes and watch out for early signs of an infection. Regular screening for diabetic wounds also helps to avoid ulcers.
Diabetic wounds develop when the blood sugar levels are poorly controlled. Diabetes lowers the immune system, reduces blood circulation, and causes peripheral neuropathy, and all these factors contribute to delay in wound healing. You can avoid these wounds by taking your medications, going for regular screenings, and having good foot hygiene.