Improve Healing for Diabetes-Related Wounds
As millions of Americans living with diabetes are also living with chronic wounds that won’t heal, Healogics® is raising awareness of diabetes-related wounds as part of Diabetes Awareness Month.
Throughout November, our Wound Care Centers® across the country are educating their local communities about the importance of awareness, early intervention and specialized care for diabetes-related chronic wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers.
A Growing Concern
There are 37 million Americans currently living with diabetes – including one out of every four adults over age 65 – according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Additionally, 96 million American adults have prediabetes and more than 8 in 10 don’t know they have it.
Diabetes-related wounds are a leading cause of limb loss, accounting for nearly 70% of cases undergoing lower extremity amputation in the United States. Approximately 25% of people living with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. Several factors such as neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), deformities and Charcot foot can increase the likelihood of chronic wounds occurring.
Unfortunately, those suffering from chronic wounds have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as they may have avoided much needed care during the past two-plus years. Many of these untreated and undertreated wounds have resulted in amputation, according to a study from the ADA. In fact, Stanford University researchers have found the number of amputations has increased by nearly 50% during the pandemic.
The good news is that early detection and specialized care from a Wound Care Center® can reduce healing times and amputation risk by almost half when a multi-specialty wound care team provides care.
Risk Factors and Symptoms to Keep in Mind
Risk factors for diabetes include age, diet, activity level, obesity and heredity. Factors that may increase the risks of developing a chronic wound, such as a diabetic foot ulcer, include high blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues and nerve damage.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination (often with sugar in the urine), high blood sugar and fatigue. Diabetes can also affect your eyesight. Your primary care doctor can review your symptoms and medical history, perform a physical examination and use lab tests to make a formal diagnosis.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires daily management and regular medical attention. Those living with diabetes may develop a wound that may not heal due to infection, poor blood flow and problems with nerves.
These wound symptoms take time to notice. You may feel numbness and tingling in your legs and feet. Other things to look out for are the presence of foot swelling or burning sensations. Nerve problems can cause pain, but you may not experience any pain at all.
Help Prevent Chronic Wounds
Our Healogics physicians recommend the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers:
- Stop smoking immediately.
- Comprehensive foot examinations each time you visit your healthcare provider (at least four times a year).
- Examine your feet every day or have a family member inspect them.
- Take good care of your feet and clean your toenails.
- See your healthcare provider to care for corns and calluses.
- Choose supportive, proper footwear (shoes and socks).
- Take steps to improve circulation, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly.
Early detection and specialized care from a Wound Care Center can significantly reduce healing times and the risk of amputation. If you or someone you care for has a wound that is not healing, find a Center near you today.