November is American Diabetes Month and the healthcare experts at the Floyd Memorial Wound Healing Center are drawing attention to the fact that every hour seven people across the country lose a foot or leg to the disease, which is the leading cause of lower-limb amputations not caused by accidents. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one in three people with diabetes ages 40 and older have at least one area on their feet that lacks feeling. Those at greater risk for nerve damage include diabetics who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar, high cholesterol, weight or blood pressure.
Statistically, one in 20 diabetics will develop a wound on their legs or feet each year. The risk of amputation can be reduced by 45 to 85 percent through foot care programs that can include risk assessment, education, treatment of foot problems and referrals to specialists.
State-of-the-art equipment and leading edge therapies are also playing a role in reducing the risk of amputation. The Floyd Memorial Wound Healing Center offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.
Indications of problems diabetics may have with their legs which should be discussed with their healthcare providers:
- Pain in the legs or cramping in the buttocks, thighs or calves during physical activity
- Tingling, burning or painful feet
- Loss of sense of touch or the ability to feel heat or cold in the feet
- Changes in the shape, color or temperature of the feet
- Hair loss on the toes, feet and lower legs
- Dry or cracked skin on the feet
- Thick and yellow toenails or fungus infections between the toes
- Blisters, sores, infected corns and ingrown toenails
The Floyd Memorial Wound Healing Center physicians recommend people with diabetes manually inspect their feet each day and seek immediate attention if a lower extremity wound has increased pain, redness or swelling, foul wound odor, or a change in color or change in amount of drainage. For more information on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, contact the Floyd Memorial Wound Healing Center at (812) 949-7964.