WHEN BLOOD GLUCOSE levels rise too high, the immune system has a harder time fighting infections. That’s why people with diabetes are more likely to develop skin infections following surgery or a minor injury.
Non-healing wounds can develop anywhere on the body, but people with diabetes most commonly notice them on their feet. Why? Diabetes can impact blood flow to the lower extremities, making it difficult for foot injuries to heal. Some people with diabetes also lose feeling in their feet, a condition known as neuropathy.
Here are tips to prevent minor blisters and cuts from turning into big problems:
Pay attention to your blood sugar. “200 mg/dL seems to be the ‘magic’ number for wound healing,” says Doug Wright, D.O., Medical Director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Services at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center. “Your risk of developing a chronic wound goes down if your blood sugar is under control and less than 200 mg/dL.”
Seek help quickly. Wounds that don’t heal within the first three to four weeks or that are red, tender, or warm to the touch may require medical attention.
Examine your feet. “People with neuropathy may not feel pain from a blister or foot injury,” Dr. Wright says. “Inspect your feet regularly, and check inside your shoes for rocks and other irritants that can rub against your skin.”