Apparently, for beach goers living in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, stepping on a pop top requires no more treatment than downing a blender full of booze, crushed ice and some table salt. But for the people living with diabetes in the world, summer pop top injuries are much more serious. As a matter of fact, a diabetic’s predisposition towards developing neuropathy, circulatory and immune system problems makes the cuts and bacteria associated with such beach season injuries potentially deadly. That’s the chief reason why it is so vital to treat foot injuries with the right medicines and dressings.
So which dressings are ideal for treating a diabetic’s summer foot injuries? Experts widely agree that moist ones are wonderful at controlling exudate but they are not always an appropriate choice. As such, it is not uncommon for doctors to recommend a vast array of dressings to their injured, diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. Some of the more popular dressings are hydrocolloids, hydrogels, hydrocellular foams, polyurethane films and calcium alginates.
Hydrocolloid and hydrogel dressings are excellent to use when a foot injury is producing a moderate about of discharge. Hydrocelluar foams, on the other hand, are ideal for situations when heavy discharge is present. Polyurethane films and calcium alginates may be used for lightly exuding foot injuries and in conjunction with other wound dressings.
The list of additional dressings used to treat diabetics’ summer wounds includes, but is not limited to silver, iodine, protease modulating, PHMB, low-adherent silicone, honey and odor control. Depending on the situation, they may be paired with topical antimicrobial ointments, oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, surgical debridement and larval therapy.
Knowing all of this, at Diabetes Health Supplies, we keep a huge assortment of dressings in stock. So pre-diabetics, diabetics and their family members will be able to find just what their doctors’ ordered. To find the wound dressing that is right for any given diabetic foot injury, please contact us by dialing (866) 622-4984 FREE.
Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body is not able to properly breakdown sugar. Of nearly 18 million diabetics in America, it is estimated that nearly 15 will eventually develop foot ulcers, a condition in which the wounds take a long time to heal. The inability of the wounds to heal may have disastrous consequences for diabetics.
Causes of Foot Ulcers
One of the reasons why wounds do not get healed or heal very slowly in diabetes patients is the impaired immune system. Foot ulcers may be caused due to inability to feel pain, deformities, poor circulation, trauma, and irritation. When the immune system in the body is impaired, the body cannot fight against infections.
When the immune system is impaired due to diabetes, even simple wounds that should normally heal within days can continue to fester for long. In foot ulcers, pain is usually not felt. You may find your socks wet. In addition, redness and swelling may be seen. In some cases, apart from foot ulcers, other infections are also caused like osteomyelitis or bone infection, sepsis and gangrene, when left untreated.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are several measures that can be taken to improve healing. It is important to control the blood sugar level. Measures like eating a healthy diet with sufficient nutrients will help control sugar along with enhanced vitamins and nutrients to help healing. Other measures include off loading, debridement, and medication. The advice of a registered dietician may be of great help.
It is best to watch your body and monitor the slightest appearance of wounds. Keep your eyes open to infections and get medical help on slightest suspicion of an infection. In case of infection, do not put pressure on the wound to help in healing. Regular aerobic exercises will not only help control blood glucose level but will also help wounds heal.
It is well know that people with diabetes generally heal slower than others and that they are more susceptible to developing an infected wound. Diabetes causes poor sensitivity in the extremities of the body as well as poor blood circulation to those parts of the body. Because of poor sensitivity, wounds in the hands and feet may go unnoticed which can delay treatment. Due to poor circulation, antibodies, nutrients and oxygen produced by the body do not reach the wound, hindering the normal healing process of the wound.
About hyperbaric healing
Hyperbaric wound healing is a process where the wounded patient is placed in a sealed chamber and is supplied with pure oxygen. This oxygen is pumped in at pressures greater than the atmospheric pressure and at a quantity greater than what is naturally available. This helps the body take in much greater quantities of oxygen which helps it to repair wounds at a faster rate, apart from imparting other benefits to the metabolism of the body.
Generally, slow healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers, radiation wounds, infected wounds, and burn wounds are benefited the most from the treatment.
Benefits for diabetics
Since poor blood circulation in diabetics affects the amount of oxygen and antibodies carried to the wounded tissue, the healing process becomes slow. With hyperbaric wound treatment, the tissues receive around 20 times more oxygen than normal, which greatly improves the metabolism of the cells and their healing ability in turn. If wounds heal much faster, then the lifestyle of diabetics will no longer be affected by the wounds.
Foot ulcers are a major concern for diabetics especially if not detected early or left untreated for long. Diabetes leads to nerve damage and poor blood circulation therefore, foot injuries are often painless. This is why they are often left untreated and eventually may lead to severe foot ulcers in due course necessitating amputation in extreme cases.
A recent research into the diabetic foot ulcers revealed that TCC or total contact casts can effectively heal diabetic related foot ulcers in comparison to dressing alone or for that matter removable casts. The study was published in The Cochrane Collaboration® and announced by a pharmaceutical and medical device company focused on advanced wound care. The study was authored by Allyson Lipp and Jane Lewis. Allyson Lipp is affiliated to the University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, U.K, while Jane Lewis is affiliated to Cardiff and Vale Univerisity, Cardiff, U.K. The trials included a total of 709 patients and data from 14 trials was examined.
The study titled “Pressure-relieving interventions for treating diabetic foot ulcers” authored by Jane and Lipp (2013) shows that between two treatment strategies, dressing and removal casts on one hand and pressure relieving, non-removable casts on the other hand, the latter treatment strategy that uses pressure relieving, non-removable casts was found to be more effective.
Further between non-removable casts alone and non-removable casts in combination with Achilles tendon lengthening, the latter was found to be a more successful treatment strategy. In other words non-removable devices are better as a treatment strategy in comparison to other external pressure relieving strategies.
People with diabetes are often known to experience slow healing of wounds, due to the elevated levels of glucose in their bloodstream. Studies have proved that such wounds heal faster when they are cleaned at regular intervals since cleaning helps in the removal of infectious germs, dead or infected tissue cells, and any foreign object that may be embedded in the wound.
What studies say
There have been studies that have proved that various types of wounds heal faster when they are cleaned on a regular basis. The records of a hundred and fifty five thousand patients treated at one of the wound care centers of Healogics were studied to understand the benefits of regularly cleaning wounds among diabetic patients.
Their research showed that different types of wounds healed in varied time spans, but was quicker when the wounds were cleaned often. The detailed study showed that diabetic foot ulcers took approximately three weeks to heal when cleaned once a week and approximately eleven weeks when cleaned every fortnight. Similarly, wounds caused by trauma healed in two weeks when cleaned often as against the seven weeks healing time taken by wounds that weren’t cleaned frequently.
Why regular cleaning works
Wounds are prone to infection caused by germs, dirt and foreign particles that may be present at the wound site. If a wound is not cleaned properly, at regular intervals, colonies of bacteria grow over the wound, hindering the healing process. According to Dr Robert Kirsner from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, regular debridement restricted the growth of bacterial colonies thus quickening the healing process. Regular cleaning was also needed to ensure that no dirt or dust particles contaminated the wound. Kirsner also mentioned that it was crucial to have wounds, which took long to heal, evaluated regularly to ensure that there were no further complications.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that hinders the body’s capacity to metabolize sugar properly thereby leading to elevated levels of glucose in the blood stream. High levels of glucose tend to thicken the walls of the arteries and results in the blood vessels becoming narrow. This, in turn, affects wounds, hindering their ability to heal fast.
Causes for poor healing
The constricted blood vessels, commonly affecting people suffering from diabetes, hinder proper circulation of blood through the body and thereby, the flow of oxygen rich blood to the wound is restricted. Since oxygen plays a vital role in the healing process, this lack of oxygen does not allow the wound to heal quickly.
In addition, the flow of nutrients to the affected tissue is also affected. This hampers the effectiveness of the white blood cells that are responsible for fighting off infections which is a crucial aspect of the healing process. Besides, diabetes has the ability to weaken the immune system and this increases the risk of serious infections.
Care to improve the healing process
In order to improve the recovery process, a person suffering from diabetes must make every effort to control the level of sugar in their bloodstream. Following a low-sugar diet, recommended for diabetic patients is advisable. In addition, ensure that your body receives a good supply of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C. This is essential as these nutrients are known to aid the healing process.
Regular exercise, in the form of walking or aerobics, is also recommended as it helps to keep the body fit while improving blood circulation through the body.
It is also advisable to consult a doctor so as to avoid any serious complications that could arise due to a slow healing process.
Diabetic patients should be alert when it comes to wounds as they heal quite slowly due to poor blood circulation. Diabetic neuropathy reduces the sensation especially in hands and feet, and you tend to notice injuries much later. Even minor wounds can lead to complications leading to amputation, which is why prevention of complications is essential.
Check your feet every day
You can prevent any complications of wounds that may occur by preventing the wound altogether. You may not be aware of your foot problems like cuts, swelling, sores, infected toenails, because of neuropathy. Hence it is very important to check your feet regularly and look for any sores or wounds that may have developed.
Wash your feet with warm water and mild soap, but don’t soak your feet in water as doing this dries them up. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after a wash. This is because moisture in the feet, especially between toes causes skin to break and can lead to infection. Even lotion between the toes can cause infection.
Keeping your feet from cracking
You can prevent your feet from cracking by keeping them moist and soft. This can be achieved by daily application of foot cream. Any moisturizer is sufficient. There is no need for a special cream. After washing feet, pat them with a towel to dry them instead of energetically rubbing them.
Always wear footwear and never remain barefoot. This minimizes the chance of little objects or stones getting stuck and causing cracks leading to infection. Keep your feet warm always. Never let your feet get wet in rain or snow. When trimming nails, don’t cut corners, and cut straight across.
Diabetes is a very serious condition that affects a patient’s life in more ways than one can imagine. Reports show that as many as 18 million individuals suffer from the condition in the United States of America alone. One of the most well known issues is the effect it has on the healing capabilities of the body.
Causes and Reasons
Diabetes is a cause for concern with regards to wound healing because of the fact that it prevents the body from being able to manage its sugar intake effectively. Studies have shown that the primary reason is the increase in oxygen levels within the body, a condition known as hyperoxia. These increased oxygen levels will then trigger an increased activation of the bone marrow enzyme eNOS, causing oxide production. Some of the main reasons that wounds in diabetic patients will take longer to heal include, weaker immune systems, narrow arteries, and nerve damage. Make it a point to consult your physician as to the best plan of action when suffering from diabetes.
What you can do to improve healing
There are a few steps that you could take to help speed up wounds even if you are suffering from diabetes. It is important to give even the smallest wounds immediate care. Avoid waiting as this could easily lead to the development of an infection. Cleaning the wound with some kinds of medicinal spirits will help prevent infections, while covering the wound with a sterile bandage will help the wound heal faster. Avoid placing any stress on the wound during the healing process, as doing so would significantly slow it down. Improve your overall cardiovascular health in order to optimize circulation throughout your body.
The purpose of a wound dressing is primarily to protect the wound from infection and further harm, while stopping or containing bleeding or exudation, and to aid the healing process. There are a variety of dressings that serve different purposes that can be used on diabetic wounds.
Hydrogel dressings allow partial aeration of the wound, contain exudation, and moisturize the wound. They contain exudates, which help the body break down necrotic tissue. Hydrogels can be used on infected wounds as studies have shown they do not aid bacterial growth.
In case of diabetic dressings, hydrogels are most effective when a necrotic wound has been debrided using surgical instruments (sharp debridement). However they must be used with discretion for diabetics with reduced blood flow to the limbs. This is because the moisturizing properties of the hydrogels are likely to macerate the surrounding tissue and a dry gangrenous condition in a patient might quickly progress to wet gangrene, which is much worse.
Hydrocolloids are similar to hydrogels in all properties except moisturization of wounds. While they do not add their own moisture to the wound, they do trap exudates within the wound, leasing to a moist condition, similar to using hydrogels. While this can help the body in the destroying necrotic tissue, it can also, when used on highly exuding wounds, lead to the softening of the skin and tissue around the wound.
Most medical authorities opine that the use of hydrocolloids on infected wounds is not advisable as it can increase the infection and the probability of developing an infection in a wound. Dressings using hydrocolloids can be kept on the wounds for much longer than regular dressings, for up to a week. So, wounds requiring regular examination do not benefit from hydrocolloid use.
Diabetes involves several complications that compromise the ability of the body to heal wounds. This means wounds have a greater chance of being infected and turning worse in diabetics, with a probability of amputation of the body part if care is not taken in due time. So, it is important for diabetics to be aware of even the smallest wound on their bodies and treat them immediately.
Diabetes and wound prevention
Diabetics need to be extra cautious about avoiding wounds, even minor cuts and scrapes such as pinpricks or nicks while shaving. Diabetes can cause a nervous condition where the affected person has reduced sensation across the body, which can make wounds and cuts go unnoticed sometimes. It can also weaken the immune system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to fight infections. Another possible consequence of diabetes is the narrowing of arteries, which can cause a decrease in the rate of flow of blood. This means the transportation of nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies to the wound is lower than normal, thus slowing wound healing, and also increasing the chances of infection of the wound.
Preventing foot sores
The parts of the body that receive the most use and wear are the feet. Care has to be taken to prevent even minor foot injuries in diabetics. Check the feet daily for cuts or bruises, prevent foot cracks by the use of petroleum jelly or similar products, and use specialized footwear and socks that do not restrict blood flow.
In case a wound has occurred, it needs to be cleaned, disinfected, medicated, and bandaged immediately. Check the wound daily for infection and replace the bandaging. Do not perform any activity that may cause the wound to rupture, which slows the healing process even more. Consult your physician on even the smallest signs of skin irritation, to avoid the possibility of a diabetic ulcer.
Certain types of exercises can be harmful for diabetics. So, it is necessary that you speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program and undergo diagnostics like a treadmill test. Your doctor would then be able to tell you what kind of exercises you need to avoid. Diabetics should choose those exercises, which fit easily in their routine. Uniform intensity of exercise is vital as it allows you to maintain adequate blood sugar levels.
A diabetic SPIbelt will help people living with diabetes carry their testing supplies and insulin pump while exercising.
Your blood sugar level may drop or rise beyond acceptable levels during exercise. It is recommended that you have someone monitoring you while you exercise as you may need help. Never overdo the exercises, and if you have to build on intensity, do it in a stepwise fashion gradually over a few days. Ensure that you check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise. The blood glucose in your body varies with exercise and if unmonitored you might be inviting diabetic ketoacidosis leaving you dangerously dehydrated.
If you have ketones in your urine and the blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) 8 hours after consuming food, refrain from exercise. If the sugar level is 300 mg/dL without ketones in your blood, exercise with caution. Low blood sugar is also not good before you set out to exercise. If the level is below 100 mg/dL, eat a carbohydrate snack, and if it is below 70 mg/dL, avoid going to the gym.
You could get yourself a SPIbelt to keep all your diabetes supplies at hand. This belt can house your insulin pump and medications to keep you safe all the time. It keeps the pump stable as you go on with your activities.
Diabetes weakens your body’s immunity against infections. The high blood sugar levels in tissues allow bacteria to grow giving rise to infections. Skin is one of the aspects that diabetics need to care for to avoid infections. One of the most troublesome infections is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. This is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics and is often referred to as a super-bug by the medical community.
MRSA primarily spreads through contact. If you have an open wound like an open intravenous (IV) site that is used to insert tubes in the body, you are likely to develop this infection. MRSA is acquired mostly in a hospital setting but can also be contracted in a community setting. Often, people who develop MRSA infection falsely suspect that they have had insect bites and tend to ignore treatment, which can lead to serious complications.
Since this infection is primarily spread through human contact, good hygiene habits like frequently washing hands, not sharing personal items like razors and towels and keeping the skin cuts covered are vital. You can make use of Opsite IV3000 to care for your IV site. This acts as a skin barrier against MRSA giving you good protection. It also prevents moisture accumulation that can cause infections. It is waterproof and can be secured with the 2 strips provided. Each box contains 100 of these and is ideal for diabetics to keep handy to cover IV wounds and secure catheters.
Diabetes can impair your body’s ability to fight infections. The high glucose levels in your blood lead to high sugar levels in body tissues. This allows the bacteria to grow in them giving rise to infections. The feet and overall skin of your body are more prone to such infections. It is vital that you treat these infections on time to keep them from growing into more serious ones. It is also essential that you take good care of minor wounds, sores and abrasions that can turn into breeding ground for bacteria.
As a diabetes patient, you need to keep an adequate stock of wound care supplies like wound barriers to protect open skin from external elements that can promote infection. Make sure that the medicine box in your house contains at least one pack of protective barrier films by Bard. It not only helps protect the wound but also prevents irritation that is usually caused by adhesives. It bonds to the skin preventing external irritants from coming into contact with the sensitive areas of your skin. It is not affected by most liquids.
You never know where you could develop a sore or wound on the skin. There are times, when you feel you need something more to secure a dressing placed over a particular part of the body. Keep handy a bottle of Mastisol liquid adhesive bottle by Ferndale. It has pump spray that proves very useful. The Mastisol spray can secure any dressing placed on hard-to-wrap areas on your skin giving you good protection. The solution is latex-free and non-water soluble.