The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 25 million Americans are struggling with diabetes and more than a third of those are undiagnosed and not seeking treatment. Unfortunately, along with our waistlines, diabetes rates are on the rise, and those with the disease are at a higher risk for major complications like blindness, kidney failure, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke, but one potentially dangerous consequence is the risk of amputation of the lower limbs because of diabetic wounds. What causes diabetic wounds, and what care options are available?
Diabetes and Wounds
Diabetes is largely characterized by an inability of the body to produce enough of the blood sugar regulating the hormone insulin, or to use it correctly to manage the levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetes ultimately impairs a number of physiological systems and processes in the body, including the circulatory system, function in the peripheral nervous system, and the immune system. This creates the perfect set of conditions for sustaining a diabetic wound that won’t heal:
- High sugar levels in the blood cause smaller vessels to constrict, and that reduces blood flow to the extremities, like the hands and feet.
- Reduced circulation means reduced oxygen, nutrients and anti-bodies for repair, all of which are necessary for effective wound healing.
- Loss of efficient circulation ultimately injures the nerves in the feet, which can lead to neuropathy or nerve damage. The resulting reduced sensation might mean someone with diabetes doesn’t even realize they’ve developed a wound.
Healing Diabetic Wounds
Why is efficient healing for diabetic wounds so important? According to researchers at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, it’s because the risk of death within 5 years is reported to be between 43-55% for those with new-onset diabetic ulceration, and up to 74% for patients with lower-extremity amputation. “These rates are higher than those for several types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colon, and Hodgkin’s disease.” What are your options for diabetic wound care?
- Improving venous supply in the circulatory system is one of the most important treatments for diabetic wounds. According to Dr. Dembowski, “One of the big problems is lack of circulation in the lower extremities. Sometimes the smallest cut or injury is sustained, and it never quite gets healthy. Compromised immunity means that even with a variety of topical creams and even medications, the body just can’t get it done.” Atlanta Medical offers state of the art vein treatments to assist in recovering circulatory function.
- Stem cell grafting involves the use of a biofilm that covers the diabetic wound to help the body to finally begin an effective healing progression. This has proven to be such an important aspect of healing that it is a process covered by insurance companies.
Are you Concerned about the Impact of Diabetic Wounds?
Atlanta Medical Clinic is one of the few non-hospital environments in the area capable of treating diabetic wounds and managing a comprehensive care program to ensure treatment compliance, and our team of medical professionals will use every technique available to provide you with the best options for healing. It’s important to seek care for diabetic wounds as soon as possible, so please call today with your questions and to schedule a consultation to learn more about your options.