Diabetes Can Lead to Non-Healing Wounds and Amputations

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Infographic: 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. Approximately 25% will develop a foot ulcer. 15% of diabetic foot ulcers progress to amputation. 50% of people who undergo amputation will die within 5 years.

[click image to enlarge] Every hour, ten Americans will undergo an amputation due to diabetes. Of those, 50% will die in five years. People with diabetes need to be on the lookout for non-healing wounds and seek treatment right away.

It is estimated that 25 percent of the 29.1 million people living with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer. Without treatment, these wounds can lead to amputation or even death. Every hour, ten Americans undergo an amputation as a result of diabetes.

What’s even more startling – 50 percent of people who have an amputation will die within five years.

“The statistics are truly sobering when you realize that about 60 percent of non-traumatic limb amputations are performed on people living with diabetes,” said General Surgeon James R. Shepich, M.D., medical director of the Wound Treatment Center at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland.

But there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a statistic.

Check Your Feet

Patients with diabetes – or their caregivers  – should check their feet at least every other day to verify there are no cuts or sores and that the skin is not breaking down. Neuropathy, or weakened nerve sensation, is common among people with diabetes. This can make it more difficult to detect an injury. Therefore a visual inspection is needed.

If you find a wound or sore that does not go away quickly, report it to your doctor right away, or call the Wound Treatment Center. Studies show that the sooner treatment begins, the greater the chance of healing.

Causes of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Common causes of diabetic foot ulcer include:

  • Decreased circulation to the feet
  • Poor glycemic control and lower oxygen levels in the blood, which interfere with healing
  • Poor fitting shoes cause friction
  • Visual impairment causes stumbling/tripping/bumping that leads to foot injuries

Prevent Foot Injuries

Here are some tips to prevent injury:

  • Wash your feet every day and dry them with care, especially between the toes.
  • Trim your toenails as needed after you’ve washed and dried your feet.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet.
  • Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes, and never walk barefoot or while wearing just socks.
  • Physical activity can help increase circulation in your feet. Consult your healthcare team to see which physical activity is right for you.

MidMichigan’s Wound Treatment Centers in Alma, Clare, Midland and West Branch specialize in treating non-healing wounds, offering leading edge treatments including hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Specialized Wound Treatment Centers have better outcomes because they bring together many disciplines to not only treat the wound, but to also address underlying barriers to healing. including the special circumstances of people with diabetes.

Take Action. Seek Specialized Treatment.

If you or someone you love is living with a non-healing wound, don’t wait – seek specialized treatment. Call the Wound Treatment Centers toll free at (877) 683-0800 or visit www.midmichigan.org/woundcenter.


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