Diabetes and the Risk of Chronic Wounds

Chronic wounds are one of the most common complications in people living with diabetes. Left untreated, they can cause decreased mobility and result in amputation.

In 2010, over 73,000 adults with diabetes underwent an amputation. Of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, 60 percent are related to diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Unfortunately, many people do not realize how quickly foot ulcers can progress to amputation.

But the truth of the matter is that amputations are preventable with good diabetes management and wound care. In fact, 4 of every 5 amputations are preventable. With regular screenings and proper care, you can avoid these devastating consequences.

Get your screening today. Call the Wound Center at Vascular Health in Bakersfield at 888-918-3137 and schedule an appointment.

Why does diabetes increase the risk of wounds?

The effects and complications of diabetes can lead to poor circulation, chronic wounds (diabetic foot ulcers), and ultimately, amputation, if not treated properly. There are several factors associated with diabetes that increase the risk of chronic wounds:

  • Poor circulation – Diabetes can restrict blood flow to blood vessels in the the feet. Poor circulation decreases your ability to fight infection if you develop diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – Many diabetic patients develop PAD, which occurs when the blood vessels in the legs are blocked or narrowed by fatty deposits. This, in turn, decreases blood flow to the legs and feet. Chronic wounds are a symptom of PAD.
  • Neuropathy – Diabetes can damage nerves as well, causing many patients to develop neuropathy. Neuropathy can be painful, but can also

cause loss of feeling. Diabetics who have a foot injury, blister, or wound may not even realize it until it becomes infected.

Diabetic Foot Ulcer

What are the effects of diabetic wounds?

Chronic wounds and diabetic foot ulcers take a big toll – not only physically and financially, but psychologically. They can:

  • Reduce your mobility
  • Cause persistent pain and discomfort
  • Cause embarrassment and lead to social isolation
  • Limit your job and recreational activities
  • Affect your sleep
  • Cause fatigue
  • Hurt your self-esteem
  • Reduce your independence
  • Increase amputation risk

What can I do to prevent diabetic wounds?

While having diabetes puts you at risk for wounds, you are not powerless. Regular screenings, reducing risk factors, and proper foot care can help prevent diabetic foot wounds, infections, and amputations.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Schedule an appointment with the Wound Center at Vascular Health. It’s important for all diabetic patients to get a screening every six months for wound care and prevention.
  • Manage your diabetes and reduce controllable risk factors. Keep your glucose under control, stop smoking, avoid alcohol, and keep your cholesterol in check.
  • Promote good circulation by avoiding smoking, keeping your feet propped up when sitting, and wiggling your toes and ankles several times a day.
  • Trim your toenails regularly and keep calluses in check.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry, and check them daily for red spots, blisters, swelling, or cuts. Schedule an appointment with us if you notice anything.
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes and socks at all times. When you buy a new pair of shoes, break them in gradually to reduce pressure on your feet.
  • Ask your doctor about special footwear that can help reduce your risks.
  • Protect your feet from extreme temperatures. Test bath water before entering, don’t use heating pads, and don’t walk on hot pavement; you might burn and damage your feet without even realizing it.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for dressings and topical medications.
  • Educate yourself. The more you know about the risks of wounds and good foot care, the more proactive you can be in managing your health.

How can the Wound Center at Vascular Health help?

Our goal at Vascular Health is to make Kern County amputation free. Many patients do not realize that diabetes and other conditions that affect circulation can put you in great danger of wounds and amputation.

But you can prevent amputation – and our team of skilled wound and vascular specialists can help.

Many patients report feeling immensely better after their very first visit. Call 888-918-3137 to book an appointment at the Wound Center at Vascular Health.