Diabetes and Wound Healing

More than 10 percent of Americans are impacted by diabetes. Among the 34 million Americans with diabetes, approximately 90 to 95% of those people have type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition and it can cause damage to one’s heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. In addition, those with diabetes have a much higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Diabetes can also have a major impact on wound healing which can often be overlooked, but is very serious. Below you will find how diabetes and wound healing are connected, and what you can do to stay healthy.

The Impact of Diabetes on Your Body

Diabetes is a disease that impairs your body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body turn sugar (also referred to as “glucose”) into energy. If your body’s ability to interact with insulin is impaired it can lead to high blood sugar levels (also referred to as “hyperglycemia”). High blood sugar levels for long periods can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to your vital organs. This increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve problems, and even vision issues. In addition, it can impact your body’s ability to effectively heal its own wounds.

Diabetes and Wound Healing

Those who have diabetes can struggle with wound healing. There are a variety of reasons why this occurs and it is important to stay informed for your own health.

  • Poor Circulation: Those who have diabetes are twice as likely to develop a disease related to poor circulation. The disease is referred to as peripheral vascular disease and it impacts your blood vessels by causing them to become more narrow. The condition also affects your red blood cells and their ability to move through your veins easily. This reduces the amount of blood flow to your limbs. Poor circulation impacts wound healing as blood-borne oxygen is needed for optimal healing.
  • High Blood Sugar: Blood sugar levels are integral to wound healing. This is because high blood sugar levels negatively impact your immune system. It can also prevent important nutrients and oxygen from energizing cells that promote healing. Blood sugar can also cause inflammation in your body which is harmful to the healing process.
  • Neuropathy: This condition can result from long-lasting high blood sugar levels. Neuropathy impacts the nerves and vessels in your body, resulting in the loss of sensation in the affected areas. The condition most commonly impacts one’s hands and feet and can result in diabetic foot ulcers. While it’s important to treat your diabetes, you will need diabetic foot ulcer treatment if your wound progresses into an ulcer.
  • Lowered Immunity: Diabetes comes with a variety of issues, including deficiencies with your immune system. Decreased immunity can impact your body’s ability to heal wounds as it overburdens your immune system. This not only causes your wounds to heal slower, but it can also increase your risk of infection.

Podiatry in Santa Barbara

Those with diabetes need to pay close attention to their overall health. This includes your feet as many people with diabetes are impacted by diabetic foot ulcers. Getting your foot ulcer treated is imperative to your health as up to 24% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers have to get their limb amputated. There are effective prevention measures and treatment options to ensure your overall health. A skilled podiatrist can treat your ulcer, in addition to providing you with effective preventative measures to stay healthy. Contact Foot & Ankle Concepts, Inc. for an appointment as they are the top location for podiatry in Santa Barbara!