If you or a loved one has diabetes, it’s important to be aware of its effects on wound healing. Not only can the condition make patients more susceptible to injury, but it may also significantly slow the healing process, increasing risk of infection and other complications.

Here’s what to know about these complications of diabetes:

What type of wounds and infections commonly affect patients with diabetes?

People with diabetes are just as likely to get a cut, scratch or blister as anyone else, but the difference is that those minor injuries can easily turn into more severe wounds. Diabetic patients are especially prone to complications in their feet. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, about 25 percent of diabetic patients will have a foot ulcer in their lifetime. Along with foot infections, people with diabetes are susceptible to surgical site infections, according to Verywell Health. As a result, people with diabetes often face amputation as the only cure for foot ulcers and other wounds.

Why does diabetes affect wound healing?

There are several reasons why diabetes can affect the body’s ability to quickly and effectively heal wounds. According to Healthline, high blood sugar levels can hinder the immune system’s ability to operate efficiently, thus slowing down the rate of healing. Diabetes can also lead to poor circulation, which may further inhibit the body’s ability to fight infection and promote healing.

People with diabetes often suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which damages nerves and vessels. The result is a loss of feeling in areas like the hands and feet, which is part of why these patients are so prone to foot ulcers. Often, they don’t notice a cut or wound on their feet because they can’t feel it. When left untreated, the minor wound quickly becomes a severe one.

“Managing your diabetes is the best way to prevent complications caused by the condition.”

How can you prevent wounds and complications?

Managing your diabetes is the best way to prevent complications caused by the condition. However, the American Diabetes Association also advised paying careful attention to proper foot care, which includes checking feet on a daily basis for cuts, blisters or swelling, keeping toenails trimmed and wearing proper socks and shoes.

In the event that you do get a foot ulcer or other diabetic wound, be sure to follow your treatment plan accordingly. Choose smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to receive all the wound care supplies you need at home, conveniently delivered in single-dose packs with easy-to-follow video instructions.