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How to Clean a Wound when the Patient has Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which high blood sugar levels will adversely affect body structures as well as certain functions in the body. It is a common health phenomenon worldwide and at present it is easily callable as a ‘pandemic’ according to WHO guidelines.

Why a diabetic wound is an important consideration?

A person with diabetes might have an increasing level of blood sugar if it is not controlled using medications and other means. Such high levels of blood sugar present for a prolonged time period can be damaging to body organs including the nervous system as well as the small blood vessels. Both these factors are highly important for wound healing as nerves will make the patient aware about the wound and the blood vessels will keep adequate circulation in order to provide the environment necessary for faster healing. If these and other wound healing factors are deprived, a diabetic wound can be more susceptible for infections, unhealthy tissue formation, and therefore poor wound healing. As such, worsened diabetic wound can become a major health risk to a persons life and it can end up in amputations as many of these ulcers develop in the foot area and therefore known as diabetic foot ulcers.

What is the prognosis of having a diabetic ulcer?

Although many of the diabetic ulcers will heal with proper care, almost 14 – 24% of diabetics who develop a foot ulcer might end up in an amputation in the United States. When considering the significant number of diabetics in the region of which 15% will have the possibility of developing diabetic foot ulcers, those who undergo amputation would be rather alarming and therefore preventing diabetic foot ulcers as well as proper wound care will pay a vital role in reducing the disease burden.

How should you treat a diabetic wound?

It is no longer accepted that, a diabetic wound should receive enough air to heal faster and therefore to keep it open, because of the high risk of infections and other traumatic injuries. At the same time, being aware about having such a wound will also be vital in all instances because neglect had made many diabetics poor managers of their diabetic wound. Thus, following is a list of measures that one can take in managing a diabetic wound although specific instructions have to be obtained from your health care provider at all times.

-Inspect the wound daily by removing the bandage covering the wound and watch for possible signs of infections, dead tissues, foul smell…etc which will require debridement and antibiotic treatment if such treatment have not been commenced already. Showing such wounds to your healthcare provider is also useful as they can instruct you on how to manage such states early in the disease process.

-Use a mild strength antiseptic solution to clean the wound as stronger solutions may harm the delicate granulation tissues which are forming on the top layer of the ulcer.

-Apply an antibiotic cream as appropriate following being prescribed by your healthcare provider.

-Do not exert pressure over the diabetic wound and such off-loading will enhance wound healing.

-Keep the wound covered using a dressing and this need not be a tight dressing but a dressing which can keep the moisture within and to prevent possible wound contamination with dust, dirt and pathogenic organisms.

-Keep the legs elevated in case there are signs of swelling in the region.

By adhering to these measures and controlling the blood sugar levels through other means, it will be possible to reduce the risk of a diabetic wound from ending up in an amputation in most instances.