For the 26 million Americas affected by diabetes, and the 1.9 million diagnosed annually, approximately 15 percent of those will develop foot ulcers during their lifetime, a complication that may result in amputation without timely and proper care (66,000 diabetes-related amputations are performed annually).
But when it comes to wound care, especially foot ulcers, many in Contra Costa County, California managing the disease may not realize that there is dedicated center offering help.
“Denial and fear are the major factors as to why those affected hesitate to get the attention they need. Wound Care Services needs to be sought out earlier in their care when we can be of most help,”said Mandy Mori, Director of Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Services with John Muir Health. “Many cannot distinguish how far their wounds have progressed until it is too late.”
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes the hormone insulin to help glucose be absorbed into cells.
When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in the blood.
Tips for wound care: when should treatment for a wound be sought?
Over time, diabetes can cause a lack of sensitivity in the feet. That loss of sensation can lead to cuts and sores going undetected. Diabetes can also diminish blood flow, preventing any foot wounds from properly healing. Taking care of your feet every day will lower the risk of amputation.
Seek out treatment at a wound care center when:
· You have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days (commonly experienced by people with diabetes).
· You have a sore with increasing pain, redness or swelling, foul odor, or a change in color.
· You have a surgical wound that has become infected
One way wounds can be cared for is with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a type of medical treatment that works by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, stimulating blood flow. It is often used in conjunction with additional therapies to facilitate healing. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes 100% oxygen inside a special chamber.
At the same time, the pressure surrounding the body is slowly increased to two to three times normal atmospheric pressure.
At John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, hyperbaric oxygen treatments are provided in one-person chambers, allowing for comfortable, private treatment.
Each chamber is constructed using clear plastic material, so a patient can visit with family or friends or even watch TV during treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has many therapeutic benefits, including:
· Greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues
· Shortens the healing time of stubborn wounds
· Stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in areas of reduced circulation
· Enhances white blood cells’ efficiency in killing bacteria and controlling infections
· Preserves skin grafts, flaps, and other tissues where circulation is suddenly reduced
· Reduces swelling (edema)
If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the aforementioned issues relating to diabetes, please contact our staff at We Treat Feet Podiatry (410-363-4343 or firstname.lastname@example.org) as starting treatment early is the key to a full recovery.