November is National Diabetes Month, and Lake Regional Wound Healing Center, a member of the Healogics® network, is raising awareness about the importance of early intervention and specialized care for diabetes-related chronic wounds, including diabetic foot ulcers.
“Timely detection of any wound and proper education are critical for avoiding complications, such as infections, amputations and decreased quality of life,” said Justin Shatto, M.D., medical director of Lake Regional Wound Healing Center. “With America’s diabetic population expected to nearly double by 2030, everyone needs to know the facts associated with diabetic foot ulcers.”
The statistics regarding diabetes in America are staggering: An estimated 30.3 million people in the United States (9.4 percent of the population) have diabetes, including 7.2 million who are unaware they are living with the disease. The percentage of adults with diabetes increases with age, reaching a high of 25.2 percent among those aged 65 years or older.
Approximately 25 percent of people living with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer, including the 2 million who are suffering from one right now. As many as 40 percent of those with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop a new ulcer within a year. An estimated 14 to 24 percent of people with foot ulcers will experience an amputation. Diabetes is the leading cause of limb loss, accounting for 65,000 amputations annually. Of the patients who have undergone one amputation, 55 percent will require amputation on the second leg. An amputation results in decreased quality of life, increased medical costs and a significantly higher risk of mortality. Within two to three years of an amputation, nearly 50 percent of patients will die.
In addition to age, risk factors for diabetes include diet, activity level, obesity and heredity. High blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues, nerve damage and infection may contribute to a diabetic foot ulcer.
Early detection and intervention can help to mitigate the possibility of limb loss. Lake Regional Wound Healing Center recommends the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers:
- Stop smoking immediately.
- Receive comprehensive foot examinations each time you visit your health care provider (at least four times a year).
- Perform daily self-inspections of the feet, or have a family member perform the inspection.
- Clean toenails regularly, and take care of corns and calluses.
- Choose supportive, proper footwear (shoes and socks).
- Take steps to improve circulation, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly.
“Proper wound care is imperative to healing diabetic foot ulcers,” Dr. Shatto said. “Lake Regional Wound Healing Center offers a number of leading-edge treatments, including total contact casting (TCC), negative pressure wound therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). These specialized therapies can heal even persistent wounds.”
Contact Lake Regional Wound Healing Center to learn more about diabetic foot ulcers or if you have a wound that will not heal. To schedule an appointment, please call 573.302.2990 or visit lakeregional.com/whc.
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