Diabetes Mellitus continues to afflict millions of people around the world. In fact, it is estimated that by 2030, 550 million around the world will have diabetes, 25% of which will develop foot ulcers during their lifetime often requiring diabetic wound treatment.
It is a known fact that diabetes slows down wound healing due to poor circulation, neuropathy and immune system deficiency. This is why these five key factors should be considered during diabetic wound treatment:
Proper Wound Assessment
Proper assessment is always the first step to effective wound treatment. Diabetic wounds are classified as neuropathic, ischemic and neuroischemic and each category has specific features that should be identified to help create an effective wound treatment plan and avoid long-term complications. Proper wound assessment also helps identify wound progression and the onset of infection so necessary measures can be undertaken.
Infection Control and Prevention
Diabetic wounds have an alarmingly high five-year mortality rate, most of which are caused by infections. This is why infection control is crucial to an effective diabetic wound treatment plan. Even the slightest sign of infection should warrant treatment right away.
Topical antibiotics are commonly used to reduce bacteria and prevent infection from spreading more into the wound. Regular wound dressings are also necessary to protect against further contamination and promote faster wound healing by keeping the affected area moist.
Aside from regular wound dressings, wound debridement is also an effective way to enhance wound healing and prevent infection. Removing necrotic tissue from a wound allows for better wound drainage and increases the efficiency of the wound dressing. There are different types of wound drainage but sharp debridement is the most common technique used by clinicians.
One of the most important factors to include in a diabetic wound treatment plan is the reduction or pressure in the affected area to prevent further complications. A non-removable total contact cast (TCC) is usually recommended to redistribute pressure evenly throughout the affected area. But for infected wounds, other devices are used including healing sandals and cast walkers.
Successful wound healing relies heavily on the choice of a proper dressing, as it helps maintain the right moisture in the affected area for the wound to drain and heal properly. Alginates, films and hydrocolloids are common dressing choices, but proper assessment needs to be done first to determine the right wound dressing to be used for a patient.
Patients suffering from diabetes go through a great deal of pain, stress and hassle. Add a wound into the picture and their experience gets worse. But the reality is, 15% of diabetic patients will experience wounds and more than 24% of them will require an amputation. In fact, diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputation in the United States.
But this lifelong complication can be prevented with proper wound treatment considering these five important factors. After all, diabetic patients deserve to enjoy the best quality of life despite their health condition and this can be achieved with proper management.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all wound care issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.