How to Spot and Treat a Diabetic Foot Ulcer

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – You have a general idea of what to do when you have diabetes: you know you need to watch your sugar and fat intake, monitor your insulin levels and make sure you check your feet regularly. Yes, that’s right: your feet. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States according to the American Podiatric Medical Association? Between 14 and 24 percent of diabetes patients who develop a foot ulcer will require that a part of the foot—or the foot and part of their leg—to be amputated. Furthermore, says to APMA, developing ulcers on the feet leads to 85 percent of amputations related to diabetes.

Diabetic foot ulcers are open wounds or sores occurring in around 15 percent of those with diabetes, the APMA notes. The ulcers are most commonly located on the bottom of the foot, where it is most frequently subject to friction and pressure points. Six percent of those who get a foot ulcer will face hospitalization as the result of an infection or other complication related to the ulcer. These statistics are all very cut-and-dry and can seem unthreatening, but a quick look at a Google Image search will dispel any notions that it is a minor condition.

Ulcers form for many reasons. According to the APMA, some of the factors that combine to create an ulcer are lack of sensitivity in the foot, deformed feet, excessive friction or pressure, poor circulation, trauma and the length of time the patient has had diabetes.  The longer you’ve had it, the more likely you are to develop an ulcer. Those who have had diabetes for many years are at risk for developing neuropathy, a reduction or elimination of the ability to experience pain, particularly in the extremities. The nerve damage may be painless—you may not even know it’s happening—making it doubly dangerous. Furthermore, the vascular degradation that attends diabetes means that the wounds may take longer to heal or may never do so. Often the first sign of a foot ulcer is a discharge on the socks or shoes. If you have diabetes and you see white and red pus-like discharges on your footwear, seek medical help immediately.

“Diabetic foot ulcers are an underreported but dangerous condition,” says Janice M. Smiell, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Alliqua BioMedical. “However, new technology is designed to not only cover but also support healing in just such wounds.”

Alliqua is delivering a broad range of products that provide multiple options for managing wounds and to help them heal. Not only have these technologies shown in studies that they can protect against infections; they have also shown they promote improved patient outcomes. Last year, Alliqua launchedBiovance®, a new human amniotic membrane graft. Biovance is a perfect fit with the body’s natural regenerative ability to restore tissue to a more healthy state. It is derived from healthy, full-term human placenta with its ability to protect and support. As a unique and pure human tissue, it may reduce inflammation, supports tissue growth and provides a barrier to infection. It also is transparent, allowing the wound to be viewed.

“While diabetic foot ulcers affect only a subset of those with diabetes, the consequences of leaving them untreated are extremely costly,” adds Smiell. “Getting the best possible care available as early as possible is absolutely crucial.”

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