There are several steps patients can take to prevent amputations.
Of the many complications related to diabetes, ulcers present a unique set of challenges to patients and physicians alike. According to a 2009 review published in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration, nearly 5 percent of all patients develop ulcers at some point in their lives.
While many of these ulcers can be treated with the proper wound care regimen, the same review revealed that 1 percent end in amputation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of amputation and preserve your limbs. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
1. Pay attention to your body
Amputations don’t simply happen overnight. In fact, according to the National Resource Center on Native American Aging, there are several warning signs that diabetic patients can watch out for. Perhaps the most apparent of these early warnings is neuropathy, a feeling of numbness in any limbs. Similarly, you’ll want to be on the look out for any calluses or cracks that appear. If left untreated, these can become infected. Finally, redness and pus may also be indicators of tissue death that might require amputation. Pain can also be helpful, and you should pay heed to any aches or random soreness in your limbs.
2. Protect your feet
Of all the amputations performed, most patients end up losing one or both feet. That’s why the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society suggested that diabetic patients should take extra good care of their feet. The easiest solution is to wear proper footwear at all times, which prevents injury and exposure to the elements. The best shoes are ones that feel firm and secure on your feet but won’t restrict blood flow or sensation. It’s also equally important to wash your feet, removing dead skin and harmful bacteria. Finally, cut your toenails once a week, which minimizes the possibility of fungal infections and the damage associated with ingrown nails.
3. Increase your blood flow
Oftentimes, amputations are the result of diminished blood flow in one limb or section of the body. It only makes sense, then, that you’d want to take steps to ensure you maintain some level of regularity. According to Diabetes Health, smoking is one of the lead causes of restricted blood flow, and diabetic patients should avoid tobacco products at all costs. As Living Green magazine pointed out, regular exercise can also improve your circulation, and something as simple as a daily bike ride can have a huge impact. There are even foods that can bolster your circulatory system. These items include fiber, garlic and fish like trout and salmon.
4. Emphasize proper wound care
As mentioned above, diabetic patients should be especially weary of open wounds. Because the possibility for infection is so high, these individuals need to rely on advanced wound care products to minimize the overall risk. Be it hydrocolloid dressings or methylene blue dressings,
Advanced Tissue has everything necessary for a successful wound healing regimen. As the nation’s leader in the delivery of specialized wound care supplies, Advanced Tissue ships supplies to individuals at home and in long-term care facilities.