Healing After Surgery: Concerns and Expectations for People with Diabetes
For diabetics who eat well, exercise and have excellent blood sugar control, the incidence of post-surgery problems is not much higher than for non-diabetics.
The risk of slow wound-healing and post-surgical infection increases with years having diabetes, difficult to control or poorly controlled blood glucose, and the presence of diabetes complications such as neuropathy (nerve damage).
The possibility of slow wound-healing is owed to the effects of high glucose on blood vessels and nerves, and the risk of infection is greater when healing is slow.
Slow Healing, Sensitive Nerves and Infection
Post-surgical tissue repair requires our smallest blood vessels to carry nutrients and oxygen to organs and nerves. When these blood vessels are damaged by the effects of high blood sugar, the healing process is slowed, and our nerves get stressed.
If our nerves do not receive adequate oxygen they are forced to work harder, just as we breathe harder when the atmosphere is thin. The nerves become irritated which may cause prolonged or increased post-surgery discomfort. Constant irritation can damage the nerves.
When a surgical incision is slow to heal, bacteria have increased opportunity to enter and enjoy the nutrient rich sugar buffet inside our body. Severely damaged nerves may not register the pain and swelling caused by the bacterial invasion.
The potential for an infection increases if the incision is on an extremity such as a hand or foot, where blood vessel and nerve damage can be more severe.
Infection and High Blood Sugar
Once within our body, bacteria reproduce quickly and b Continue reading