Many patients can still live an almost symptom-free life even with diabetes. Continuous monitoring and treatment is important. If the condition is left uncontrolled for a long time, your chances of developing debilitating complications increases as well. One of the many complications of poorly-managed diabetes is diabetic wound care.
Diabetic wound healing is different from wounds of healthy individuals; that is because wound healing is delayed in diabetic patients. Usual cuts will heal in one to two weeks, but when your immune system is weakened, healing may take longer than three weeks and risk of infection is high. Another cause of problem is when a person suffers from neuropathy or nerve damage. Increased sugar in the blood can damage nerve cells overtime and you may experience decreased sensation in your feet. You will not be able to feel minor cuts and blisters, and you won’t know if they are healing properly. These wounds can get infected and ultimately require amputation. Read more below to see the factors that are important in making sure you won’t fall in the pitfalls of diabetic wounds.
Still the best way to prevent diabetic wounds is to avoid getting cuts and scrapes. Even tiny cuts, blisters and callouses can lead to serious tissue damage. Always check your feet or have someone check it for you. If you have minor foot problems like warts and corns, let a doctor or podiatrist treat them. Don’t self-medicate or attempt to cut them with razors because you might end up burning or cutting healthy skin and incorporate more damage. Always protect your feet by wearing clean, dry socks and make sure your footwear is properly fitted. Moisturize your skin because dry, scaly skin is more prone to irritation and other skin problems.
There are various products for wound care made especially for diabetic individuals. From antiseptic wipes to wound dressing and bandages – you will find it easier to care for your wounds and prevent infection through these supplies. Use the right kind of tape and wraps, and make sure they fit properly and not impeding the flow of blood. Always keep your wounds clean and properly dressed. The main goal after acquiring a wound is to prevent infection and hasten the healing process. If you notice swelling, tenderness, pus and redness on your wound area, and if you have fever, seek medical help immediately.
A wound that hasn’t fully healed can easily get infected. Some infections are mild and will resolve quickly using antimicrobials, but some are more aggressive and may cause tissues to die or become necrotic. Antibiotic ointments are helpful in preventing infection. Make sure your hands are clean before tending to your wounds. If there are necrotic tissues in your wound that delays the healing process, you may ask your GP about wound debridement options. This method removes necrotic tissues from the wound to stimulate healing. It should only be done by experienced physicians because it can damage vessels or nerves if not done properly. If the infection is so severe it would require more advanced wound care dressings and both oral and topical antibiotics.
No matter how diligent you are in caring for your wounds, your efforts would be for naught if you don’t avoid the risk factors and incorporate healthy lifestyle changes. Proper nutrition is necessary to strengthen your immune system. Monitor your blood pressure to ensure there is adequate supply of blood to your extremities. Smoking cessation is also extremely beneficial because it is a major risk factor in promoting diabetic-related complications. Always follow the treatment and skin care plan prescribed by your doctor.