An estimated 37 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes. Diabetes-related wounds are a leading cause of limb loss and 10 Americans undergo amputation each hour. It’s a global issue not isolated to the United States. Every 30 seconds in the world, a lower limb is amputated due to diabetes. Up to 55 percent of diabetic patients will require amputation on the second leg within 2-3 years. Even more alarming, nearly half of those living with an amputation will die within two to three years. Early detection and specialized care from the Wound Care Center at Conway Medical Center can reduce healing times and amputation risk by almost half when our multi-disciplinary wound care team aids in your wound care.
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.
About 60 percent of people living with diabetes will develop neuropathy, eventually leading to a foot ulcer. Several additional factors can increase the likelihood of developing diabetic foot ulcers, including peripheral arterial disease (PAD), deformities, and Charcot foot. Neuropathy results from damage to peripheral nerves and often causes weakness, numbness and pain in the hands and feet. Similarly, with PAD, narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs, causing damage. Charcot’s foot is a deformity that results from nerve damage in the foot or ankle. When left untreated a breakdown of the joints can occur.
The Wound Care Center at Conway Medical Center recommends the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers to reduce the risk of amputation:
- Stop smoking immediately
- Annual comprehensive foot checkups by your healthcare provider
- Perform daily foot inspections by you or a loved one
- Regular foot care, including washing daily and cleaning toenails
- Do not remove corns and calluses yourself – seek help
- Wear clean, dry socks
- Have footwear that offers support and fits properly
- Improve circulation by eating healthier and exercising regularly
Diabetic foot ulcers have a very high recurrence rate. As many as 40 percent of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop another one within a year. These ulcers can be challenging to heal.
Our Wound Care Center provides advanced therapies to aid in infection prevention, new tissue growth and successful wound closure. It is important to seek specialized care from the Wound Care Center at CMC as soon as an ulcer develops. Don’t wait. Come heal with us!
Treatment options include the following:
- Debridement, total contact casting, offloading, negative pressure wound therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are advanced wound care modalities often used to treat diabetic foot ulcers. Debridement is the process of removing dead tissue from It is necessary for healing because dead tissue hinders the growth of new cells making it easier for infection to occur.
- Total contact casting relieves pressure from the wound and is considered the gold standard for treating diabetic foot Other forms of offloading or taking pressure off the wounded leg or foot include boots, crutches, or wheelchairs.
- Negative pressure involves placing a vacuum over a dressed This draws fluid through the wound and stimulates blood flow.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides patients with 100-percent oxygen in an enclosed acrylic chamber with higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure, which allows their blood to carry more healing oxygen to the wound.