Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to complications, such as diabetic ulcers, which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Diabetic ulcers are slow-healing wounds that can develop on the feet, legs, or other body areas due to poor blood circulation and nerve damage. These ulcers can be painful, difficult to treat, and can even lead to amputation in severe cases. However, with proper Bakersfield wound care and preventive measures, diabetic ulcers can be avoided or effectively managed.
There are several causes of diabetes, including:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that develops when the body’s immune system targets and kills the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin aids in controlling blood sugar levels.
- When the body develops insulin resistance or cannot produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, type 2 diabetes develops. This kind of diabetes is frequently related to lifestyle elements such as poor diet, inactivity, and obesity.
- Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.
Preventing diabetic ulcers is essential for people living with diabetes. The following tips can help reduce the risk of developing diabetic ulcers:
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels: Elevated blood sugar levels can harm blood vessels and nerves, impairing circulation and reducing feeling. The risk of diabetic ulcers can be decreased by controlling blood sugar levels.
- Inspect feet daily: Inspect feet for signs of redness, blisters, cuts, or other injuries. Check the toes, between the toes, and the soles of the feet.
- Wear comfortable and properly fitting shoes: Shoes should fit well, with no rubbing or tightness that could lead to irritation. Avoid high heels or shoes with pointed toes.
Now that you know the different ways to prevent diabetic ulcers, here are some of the treatment options you should know:
- Wound care: Proper wound care is essential for treating diabetic ulcers. To promote healing, the wound should be kept clean, moist, and appropriately dressed. Dressings may include hydrogels, hydrocolloids, and foam dressings.
- Offloading: Offloading involves reducing pressure on the affected area to allow the wound to heal. This may involve using special shoes, boots, or braces to redistribute weight and pressure.
- Antibiotics: If the diabetic ulcer becomes infected, antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection. The type of antibiotic used depends on the type and severity of the infection.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber to promote healing. This treatment can increase oxygen levels in the blood and promote the growth of new blood vessels, improving healing.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove infected or damaged tissue or to improve blood flow to the affected area.
- Growth factor therapy: Growth factor therapy involves using proteins that promote cell growth and division. These proteins can help heal diabetic ulcers by promoting new tissue growth.
Taking care of your feet and working with your doctor at the Heart Vascular and Leg Center can reduce your risk of complications and maintain your overall health and well-being.