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Living with diabetes, getting help for wounds that don’t heal

By Dr. Marc Dolce • Nov 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Diabetes is a group of diseases that make up the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

It develops when your blood sugar is too high. Although they all cause high blood sugar levels, several different types of diabetes can affect you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes. That number does not include the more than 7 million people who are undiagnosed.

Different Types of Diabetes

• Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes blood sugar (glucose). It accounts for 90 to 95% of all diabetes cases. Type 2 diabetes starts as insulin resistance. This means your body can’t use insulin efficiently. It used to be called "adult-onset diabetes” because it is often diagnosed later in life.

• Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It’s also known as juvenile diabetes because it is most commonly diagnosed in 10- to 14-year-olds, but can be diagnosed at any age.

• Prediabetes: If your blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes, you’re considered to have prediabetes. This is a wake-up call that you’re on the path to diabetes. Approximately 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes.

• Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy. About 3 out of 5 pregnant women have the disease.

If you are living with diabetes and need help managing your disease, Fisher-Titus Medical Center offers a Diabetes Self-management Program. Physician referral is required. Call 419-660-2596.

Diabetes and Wound Issues

Of the 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes, 15% develop problem wounds as a result of disease-related skin damage. Persons with diabetes also are 15 times more likely to require amputation related to non-healing wounds, so the need for diligent preventive skin care and specialized wound care is critical.

If you have diabetes, you can minimize your amputation risk by managing your susceptibility to serious, non-healing wounds. Prolonged elevated blood sugar levels can result in the loss of sensitivity in your extremities and a greater chance you won’t notice dry, cracked skin that often occurs with diabetes. Unnoticed and untreated, damaged skin can become an open wound.

To help prevent diabetes-related problem wounds:

• Check your skin often for cracks and dry patches. Wash and moisturize your skin frequently. Living with diabetes means it is important that you continuously examine your hands and feet and treat wounds immediately to prevent irreversible infections.

• Avoid walking barefoot.

• Avoid wearing shoes or sandals that constrict or bind your toes.

• Examine your feet daily for signs of pressure or rubbing from your shoes.

• Do not place bandages or other adhesive materials in direct contact with damaged skin.

• Stop smoking! In addition to vascular complications brought on by diabetes, nicotine further reduces blood flow.

Self-care of minor diabetes-related wounds is essential. However, if you are concerned about a wound not healing, contact the Fisher-Titus Center for Wound Healing for a consultation.

Talk with your primary care physician to ask for a referral to the Fisher-Titus Center for Wound Healing. Our wound specialists will work with your physician to determine a specialized wound healing care plan for you.

To learn more about the Fisher-Titus Center for Wound Healing, visit fishertitus.org or call 419-660-6980.

 

Dr. Marc Dolce is a board-certified in podiatric surgery and is co-medical director of the Fisher-Titus Center of Wound Healing and chief of staff of Fisher-Titus Medical Center. Dr. Dolce is a member of the Fisher-Titus medical staff and practices podiatry at Northern Ohio Foot & Ankle Specialists in Norwalk, New London, Sandusky and Bellevue.

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