Wounds Can’t Wait

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They say that “time heals all wounds.” But when it comes to physical wounds, time is of the essence.

The Wound Treatment Centers at MidMichigan Health want you to know how important it is to quickly identify and report any non-healing wounds to your doctor. As these graphs show, recognizing and reporting a wound early can improve both the time it takes to heal your wound and the likelihood that it will heal. Getting an early referral to a specialized Wound Treatment Center can make all the difference.


Non-healing wounds can interfere with your quality of life and may even lead to amputations if not properly treated. When wounds persist, specialized methods like those offered at the Wound Treatment Center are required for healing.

Certain people are more likely to develop wounds and should be especially on the lookout for cuts, scrapes or sores that do not heal quickly and normally. These include people with:

  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation
  • Poorly functioning veins
  • Reduced mobility
  • Previous radiation treatment for cancer

The Wound Treatment Centers in Alma, Clare, Midland and West Branch specialize in treating non-healing wounds. They use an interdisciplinary model of care, including infectious disease management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, laboratory evaluation, nutritional management, pain management, diabetic education, radiology testing and debridement to address the patient’s overall health. In addition to these comprehensive treatments, the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven effective in reducing swelling, fighting infection, building new blood vessels and ultimately, producing healthy tissue.

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.


Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Can Lead to Serious Complications

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Infographic: 1 in 20 Americans over 50 has PAD. 1 out of 3 people over 50 with Diabetes is likely to have PAD.

[click image to enlarge] People with PAD are more likely to develop non-healing wounds that require specialized wound treatment. If you or someone you love has these symptoms or risk factors, be on the lookout for non-healing wounds.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the arteries that reduces blood flow to the legs. It affects between eight and 12 million people in the United States. While the majority of people with PAD don’t know they have it, they have the same five-year mortality rate as people with breast and colorectal cancer.

PAD is often underdiagnosed. One in 20 Americans over age 50 has PAD, and one in three Americans over 50 with diabetes is likely to have it.

Since PAD often has no noticeable symptoms, it is important to know the factors that could put you more at risk. These include:

  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • personal history of heart or vascular disease
  • Age (people are  more likely to get PAD as they get older)
  • Race (African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to have the disease.)

Just knowing your risk can help you to be on the lookout for PAD warning signs while also Continue reading.


Bone Bits: Weight-Bearing Exercises

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Weight-bearing exercises are an important part of the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. The MidMichigan Bone Health Clinic suggests 30 to 40 minutes of weight-bearing exercises three to four times per week. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises are weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis and dancing. Examples of exercises that are not weight-bearing include swimming and bicycling. Although these activities help build and maintain strong muscles and have excellent cardiovascular benefits, they are not the best way to exercise your bones.

If you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor which activities are safe for you. If you have low bone mass, experts recommend that you protect your spine by avoiding exercises or activities that flex, bend or twist your back such as yoga or Pilates. Furthermore, you should avoid high-impact exercise to lower the risk of breaking a bone. Examples of high-impact, weight-bearing exercises are dancing, aerobics, hiking, jogging/running, jumping rope, stair climbing and tennis.  Continue reading.


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 Continue reading.


Her Painful Veins Faded Away after Sclerotherapy

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Jean Moore knows firsthand that varicose veins can be painful. “When I finally decided to have something done about them, it was not a matter of cosmetics, it was because of the pain,” she said.

Moore had been dealing with the varicose veins in both legs for the last 20 years. The retired educator said the pain was initially manageable. “I had occasional pain if I was standing a lot or did a lot of exercise,” she said. “Later on, if my husband and I biked or walked, I had pain in both legs more often than not.”

The active 75-year-old did not let pain slow her down. “It was never excruciating, but it was getting worse,” she said. “I didn’t let it stop me and over-the-counter pain relievers helped.” Continue reading.


5 Reasons Why Wounds Don’t Heal

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There are four key phases for a wound to heal successfully:

Infographic showing five common reasons why wounds don't heal: poor circulation, diabetes, infection, nutrition deficits and repeat trauma to the wound site.

[click image to enlarge] Specialized Wound Treatment Centers have better outcomes because they bring together many disciplines to not only treat wounds, but also to address the underlying barriers to healing.

  1. Hemostasis – clotting to control bleeding.
  2. Inflammation – swelling occurs as helpful materials are transported to the wound site and invasive microbes are pushed out.
  3. Proliferation – a protective layer of tissue is formed.
  4. Remodeling – rebuilding of tissue and revascularization and reorganization of the new tissue to function like the surrounding tissue.

Any factors that interfere with one or more of these phases can prevent wounds from healing. Some of the most common factors include:

  1. Poor Circulation – Oxygen and materials needed for healing can’t get to the wound site. Dead cells and harmful materials can’t be carried away.
  2. Diabetes – Diabetes interferes with healing in many ways, including lower oxygen levels, weaker immunity and decreased ability to form new skin cells and blood vessels. Diabetic nerve damage can also make it harder to sense a wound and seek treatment.
  3. Infection – Harmful bacteria can prolong inflammation and prevent new
  4. Nutrition Deficits – Wounds need energy, protein and other vital nutrients to heal.
  5. Repeat Trauma – Wounds on feet, moving joints and any body parts that may easily get bumped, rubbed or pressured are more susceptible to reopening.

Continue reading.


Someone You Know May Have a Non-Healing Wound

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Currently, 6.7 million people in the United States are living with chronic wounds. Due to lack of awareness of advanced wound care, the vast majority of these people do not receive the treatment they need and deserve.

Who May Be Affected?

Infographic: Who Could Be Affected By a Non-Healing Wound

[click image to enlarge] People with certain conditions or factors are more likely to develop wounds that don’t heal. The most common wound types are pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, surgical and trauma wounds and arterial ulcers.

While anyone may be affected, the following groups are particularly susceptible to non-healing wounds. These patients and their caregivers should be on the lookout for wounds that do not heal on their own and should seek treatment right away:

  • People with diabetes
  • Those with a personal history of heart or vascular disease
  • People who have had amputations
  • Cancer survivors, especially those who have had radiation therapy
  • Those who are obese or overweight
  • Veterans
  • Patients who have been readmitted to the hospital
  • Seniors
  • Surgical patients

The most common types of wounds are: Continue reading.


What is Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

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Vocal cord dysfunction, or Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Disorder (PVFMD), is a disorder that occurs when there is abnormal movement in the vocal cords during breathing.

PVFMD can occur in people of all ages, and is commonly misdiagnosed as asthma. In addition, it can interfere with sports or athletic performance.

While the cause of PVFMD is unknown, it usually occurs in episodes with periods of normal breathing in between. Symptoms can be mild to severe, with individuals often seeking treatment in the emergency room, due to difficulty breathing. Triggers can include exposure to strong odors, smoke, changes in temperature or weather, stress, lying flat and exercise.

Common symptoms of PVFMD may be: Continue reading.


Bone Bits: Vitamin D

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Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones, both by helping your body absorb calcium and by supporting muscles needed to avoid falls. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’re more likely to break bones as you age.

Vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B rays. Exposure of the hands, face and arms to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes per days is usually sufficient for most individuals to get their daily dose of vitamin D. Here in Michigan, about 60 percent of people are deficient in vitamin D.

There are many reasons why people do not have enough vitamin D. As we age, our skin loses its ability to generate vitamin D. People who live in cities or in institutional settings like nursing homes spend too little time outdoors. Even people who spend time outdoors often use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen with an SPF as low as 8 reduces vitamin D production by 95 percent. Vitamin D is found in very few foods and is typically added to milk and other dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and fortified cereals.  Continue reading.