Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Foot ulcers are a major cause of hospitalizations and additional healthcare expenditures for Americans with diabetes – and have been linked with a three-year cumulative mortality rate of 28 percent.*
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open wound or sore, commonly located on the bottom of the foot. The foot ulcer can be a shallow red cavity that only impacts the skin, or it can be much deeper and also impact the tendons and bones of the foot. Foot wounds related to diabetes, including ulcers and infections, are the most common cause of hospitalization among diabetic patients – this is why it is so important to get a diabetic foot wound treated as soon as possible.
Here at Quantum Health and Healing, the diabetic foot ulcer is the most common of the chronic wounds that we see. It is also the wound that has the most serious consequences if it is not properly and efficiently treated. Serious issues with the circulation and immune system throughout your entire body can arise directly as a result of a diabetic foot ulcer. If left untreated, bones can become infected, and gangrene can set in – leading to the necessary amputation of the foot.
It is estimated that 5.5 million Americans will suffer from a diabetic foot ulcer at some point in their life.
Many medical professionals fail to realize how severe an untreated foot ulcer can truly become. This is a risk you do not want to take.
If you have diabetes, foot ulcers can be very common; it is estimated that as many as 25% of people who suffer from diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in their lives.* Diabetics who develop foot ulcers are especially prone to develop the following conditions:
- Decreased Sensation of Your Skin: officially called peripheral neuropathy, people with diabetes are specifically at risk of skin nerve damage, due to the nature of elevated blood sugar levels that come with diabetes. This is important, because these nerves are what tell you when you are in pain – and if you are developing an ulcer on your foot, your body may not be able to tell you how painful and bad for your body it is until it’s too late.
- Restriction of Blood Flow: diabetics are suspect to atheroma, or fatty deposits that build up in the walls of your arteries. These deposits increase the risk of reducing blood flow to different parts of your body – and the arteries that lead to your feet are particularly susceptible.
*Rice, J. B., U. Desai, and A. K. Cumming et al. 2014. Burden of diabetic foot ulcers for Medicare and private insurers. Diabetes Care 37 (3):651-8.