Type 2 Diabetes – Controlling Your Blood Sugar Improves Wound Healing
Wound healing is a problem in Type 2 diabetes, particularly in the feet and legs, simply because the legs and feet are located at the farthest ends of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. According to an article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in July 2011, controlling your diabetes can help wounds to heal.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looked at 183 diabetics with 310 wounds treated at the Johns Hopkins Wound Center. The wound areas were actually measured and the area that healed was assessed on a daily basis. For each 1.0 per cent decrease in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), the rate of wound healing increased by.028 square centimeters per day.
According to the California Podiatric Medical Association, about 15 per cent of diabetics get foot ulcers, and of that 15 per cent, 6 per cent are hospitalized due to infections or other similar complications. About 14 to 24 diabetics with foot ulcers need amputations.
The California Podiatric Medical Association recommends preventing foot ulcers by:
controlling blood sugar levels,
wearing appropriately fitting and comfortable shoes at all times,
staying away from alcohol and tobacco, and
keeping body weight under control.
Should a diabetic foot ulcer occur, it can be treated with:
prevention of infection,
Debridement is removal of dead skin and other tissue from the wound. The wound is cleansed and kept clean to prevent infection. Sterile dressings containing medications are applied to keep the wound clean and encourage healing. “Off-loading” is taking pressure off the wound to help it to heal using special boots. Sometimes surgery is performed to correct deformities such as hammertoes or bunions, or the bone can be scraped in the case of bone infection.
Untreated foot infections are dangerous because they can turn into gangrene, a putrefaction of the soft tissue which can lead to the amputation of a toe, foot or leg. People with diabetes are much more likely to have a complication involving gangrene compared to non-diabetics.
Other types of wounds can also be a special problem in diabetes, since wound healing is slow throughout the body. Using a moisturizer is a good way to keep the skin on your feet from becoming too dry and cracked, especially in cold, dry weather. Normal saline or hydrogen peroxide is good for cleaning wounds. Use a triple antibiotic cream and cover with sterile gauze pads. A physician should be consulted within one week.
Research for better wound healing in diabetes shows promise: Workers in Spain applied blood plasma rich in growth factors to a foot wound to speed healing in a 71-year-old diabetic woman. The wound healed in 10 weeks, according to a report published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, June, 2011. The same issue reported a study performed at the University of Medical Sciences in Iran, in which stem cells were used successfully to promote wound healing in diabetic rats. In July 2011 an article in appearing in the Journal of Surgical Research reported on another study performed at the University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Azelnidipine, a heart medication, promoted wound healing in diabetic rats.
For now, Type 2 diabetics need to concentrate on good blood sugar controls to lessen the chances of any complications, help to prevent wounds and hasten wound healing.