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Published on September 04, 2012

Diabetes wound care

For those living with diabetes, proper wound care is an ongoing concern.

That means watching closely for the occasional banged shin, a blister after logging hours at the mall or even a paper cut. The reason is that diabetes can result in complications that significantly increase the risk of infection, says Cynthia Wright, RN, certified diabetes educator at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. In particular, excess sugar in the blood can cause the blood to thicken, inhibiting the flow of nourishing blood to a wound.

When To Call Your Doctor

Self-care begins by learning to recognize the symptoms of a developing wound, which often involves a sore on the foot or leg. Typically, symptoms progress from an area of redness, to swelling, to warmth or pain, and finally drainage. “Drainage means that the wound has opened. You want to call the doctor long before reaching this point,” Cynthia stresses.

To avoid infection and promote healing, it’s a good idea to call as soon as you notice a change in the skin’s appearance and before tenderness or swelling begins. “Unless your physician says otherwise, it’s generally OK to wait and watch for a few hours, to see if the red spot goes away,” Cynthia explains. “However, even if the spot remains steady, never wait more than 24 hours before calling your doctor.”

Well Managed

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital offers expert diabetes education. Ask your doctor for a referral, then call 215.748.9600 to sign up. 

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