In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Jefferson Health’s Center for Advanced Wound Care & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy — with two locations in southern New Jersey — is participating in Healogics’ national education campaign about the importance of awareness, early intervention and specialized care for diabetes-related chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers. An estimated 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, including 7.2 million who are unaware they are living with the disease. In addition to age, diabetes risk factors include diet, activity level, obesity, and heredity. High blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues, nerve damage, and infection may contribute to a diabetic foot ulcer. With the diabetic population expected to nearly double by 2030 in the U.S., it is important to understand the risks and facts associated with diabetic foot ulcers. Jefferson’s Wound Care centers recommend the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers:
- Stop smoking immediately
- Comprehensive foot exams, each visit with your healthcare provider (at least four times a year)
- Daily self-inspections of the feet, or have a family member perform the inspection
- Regular care of the feet, including cleaning toenails and taking care of corns and calluses
- Choose supportive, proper footwear (i.e., shoes and socks)
- Take steps to improve circulation, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly.
Proper wound care is imperative to healing diabetic foot ulcers. Timely detection and proper education can result in better treatment options when wounds are discovered. Jefferson’s wound care centers, a member of the Healogics® network, offer several leading-edge treatments, including total contact casting (TCC), negative pressure wound therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). These specialized therapies can aid in wound closure, new tissue growth, wound tissue regeneration, and more.