Dealing With Diabetic Foot Ulcers During The Pandemic
People living with diabetes are at a significant risk of developing diseases of the arteries and loss of sensation in their legs and feet. Foot ulcers are exacerbated by an inability of the body to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar associated with poorly managed diabetes causes damage to the arteries that supply blood to the limbs, resulting in tissue neuropathy. Diabetic foot ulcers are slow-healing chronic wounds that require close wound care to prevent further deterioration.
Foot ulcers in diabetic patients have several symptoms including pain, swelling, redness, and drainage from the ulceration that may cause a foul odor. Due to a loss of sensation in the feet, people with diabetic foot ulcers are often unaware of injuries sustained during routine daily activities. As a result, they may neglect their feet, which suffer repeated trauma. All these factors can culminate in the development of chronic non-healing wounds.
Managing Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Why Wound Care is Critical
Diabetic foot ulcers account for most of the complications facing people living with diabetes. In the U.S., approximately 5% of people living with the disease develop ulcerations requiring close wound assessment, treatment, and follow-up care. Due to the pandemic, more people with diabetic foot ulcers are staying at home and neglecting their wounds. However, inadequate care for diabetic foot ulcers can culminate in limb loss from amputation.
Achieving optimal wound care for diabetic foot ulcers at home requires the cooperation of diabetics and healthcare professionals, and this can only work with a system that incorporates both patient education and therapeutic care. An effective wound care plan for diabetic foot ulcers should include the following:
- Continuous wound management; dressing, debridement, and infection control
- Management of risk factors through patient education
- Maintaining accessibility to wound care experts (telehealth services)
There is a wide range of advanced wound care dressings suited for use in managing foot ulcers in diabetics over various stages of wound healing. Examples include saline dressings that can be used daily to promote a moist wound environment and absorb exudate from the wound bed and dressings impregnated with antibiotics to prevent infection. Wound dressings can also facilitate autolytic debridement for the removal of dead tissue and debris. Wound management supplies can be prescribed and ordered remotely by healthcare providers on behalf of patients.
Mitigating Risk Factors via Patient Education
Risk factors that can worsen the condition of foot ulcerations in diabetics e.g., poor diet, smoking, hypertension, and weight gain, can be mitigated with continuous patient education. Wound care experts can discuss risk factors with their patients and encourage strict adherence to medications and dietary or lifestyle modifications.
Accessibility to Wound Care Teams
With an increased emphasis on social distancing and discouraging non-essential movement, persons with diabetic foot ulcers might be hesitant to keep up with their routine in-person hospital follow-up appointments. Healthcare providers can provide innovative alternatives to continuously monitor wound healing in their patients. The Wound Docs provides access to competent and qualified amputation prevention specialists to ensure people living with diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic, slow-healing wounds have 24-hour access to wound management consultations from the comfort of their homes.
The Wound Docs: Taking Amputation Prevention To The Next Level
Advanced Biologics/Skin Substitutes have been proven to heal wounds rapidly and lower the rates of extremity amputations. By partnering with the Wound Docs, wound care professionals will gain access to a wide variety of profitable skin substitutes on the market. Let the Wound Docs show you how!
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