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Why Wound Care Is Essential If You Have Diabetes

Why Wound Care Is Essential If You Have Diabetes

More than 11% of Americans have diabetes, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, which means there are millions of people who are at risk for serious wounds (or ulcers). Poor healing response is a major complication associated with diabetes, yet even people who have the disease don’t always understand how serious this issue can be.

Dr. Allison Burkett and our team at Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions in Warner Robins, Georgia, are committed to helping patients with diabetes care for wounds so they can avoid serious infections. If you have diabetes, here’s why wound care is vitally important.

Diabetes and the healing response

Diabetes causes several side effects that can take a toll on normal healing, beginning with decreased nerve sensations and neuropathy. High glucose levels damage nerve endings, making it harder to feel an injury when it occurs and making more serious injuries “feel” less serious.

Diabetes also damages your blood vessels, making it harder for oxygen and nutrients to reach damaged tissues that need additional support to meet the demands of healing. Poor glucose control also increases inflammation, which can slow the normal healing process.

In diabetes, wounds don’t just heal more slowly; they can progress more quickly, too. Researchers think this is in part due to the fact that people who have diabetes have an impaired immune response. That means when you’re injured, your body is slow in sending out special cells to fight infection and heal the wound, allowing germs more time to cause more serious, deeper infections.

Why wound care is so important

It’s always important to care for wounds to prevent infection and speed healing. But if you have diabetes, prompt and appropriate wound care is essential. That’s because the problems with healing discussed above can quickly result in serious infections called ulcers. 

Since they affect deeper layers of tissue, ulcers can be even more difficult to treat. Caring for the initial wound — a cut, abrasion, or blister, for instance — is much simpler than trying to heal a deep ulcer. 

Ulcers can happen anywhere, but they’re especially common on the feet, possibly because even tiny problems, like an ingrown toenail, a callus, or a scratch, can lead to an ulcer if you have diabetes. In fact, diabetic foot ulcers are a leading cause of lower limb amputations and one of the most commonly reported complications in diabetes.

Medical wound care can help heal ulcers, but treatments are much simpler, faster, and more effective when administered early. Avoiding serious complications, like deep or widespread infections and amputations, is why prompt, professional wound care is so important.

What wound care entails

Healing is based on many individual factors, and the healing response can vary markedly from one person to another. Dr. Burkett tailors wound care to each patient for maximum effectiveness and optimal results. 

Depending on your needs, your wound care plan may include:

And of course, learning better ways to manage your diabetes and control your glucose levels is essential for healing and for preventing ulcers in the future.

Learn more about diabetic wound care

If you have diabetes and you’d like to learn more about caring for wounds, we can help. To schedule an office visit or a wound evaluation, call 478-779-1920 or book an appointment online at Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions today.

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