Diabetic ulcers are a common occurrence for those that suffer from diabetes. Regardless of age, gender or race; all diabetes patients are at risk.
Although more common for those that suffer from diabetes-related conditions such as kidney, eye, or heart disease and for those that take insulin, diabetic ulcers can form on anyone with diabetes, and often in inconspicuous fashion. After an extra-long walk or wearing a new pair of shoes a blister or callus may form on your foot, marking the beginning of the formation of the ulcer.
This blister or callus can evolve into an open wound, and if not cared for can develop into an ulcer, which can wear away at skin, tissue and muscle on your feet and ultimately cause the loss of feeling in the extremity. In extreme cases, a diabetic ulcer can even lead to amputation.
For those with a diabetic ulcer or at risk of developing one, knowing the facts about the condition can go a long way in effective treatment and prevention of the common condition.
Preventing Diabetic Ulcers
With every diabetes patient at risk, the most effective treatment of diabetic ulcers is preventing them from ever forming. This is, of course, much easier said than done. However, there are several methods you can take to effectively prevent diabetic ulcers.
Take care of your feet
Because of the friction caused by shoes, your feet are the most common place diabetic ulcers can occur. Help reduce this friction and take pressure off your sensitive areas by wearing heavily padded socks and comfortable shoes whenever you exercise or plan on walking extended distances. This will provide an extra buffer between your shoes and feet.
Control blood sugar levels
Abnormal blood sugar levels can lead to neuropathy, one of the leading causes of diabetic ulcers. Neuropathy causes a lack of feeling in extremities which can cause sores, calluses and blisters to go unnoticed, linger and develop into ulcers. You can maintain normal blood sugar levels to by regularly exercising, staying hydrated, eating fruits and vegetables, controlling carb intake, getting plenty of sleep and maintaining stress levels.
Lack of blood circulation is another contributing factor of neuropathy, so maintaining healthy blood circulation is another effective way to prevent the formation of diabetic ulcers. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the best way to keep your body’s circulation at its strongest. Also, focus on keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Those with lower blood pressure experience a harder time pumping blood from the heart to extremities.
Treating Diabetic Ulcers
Treatment for diabetic ulcers needs to begin as early as possible to prevent it from growing more severe. Developing blisters and calluses that can become an ulcer can be treated by “off-loading” the wound, or taking certain measures to alleviate pressure, reduce friction or protect the site of the wound. This can be done by wearing a cast, surgical shoes, or a boot designed to help take weight off your affected foot.
When an ulcer does develop, one of the first courses of action your doctor may choose to take is a procedure known as “debridement”, which involves removing the unhealthy tissue surrounding the ulcer. Doing so can help spark the body’s healing mechanisms and promotes the growth of new, healthy skin, however it does leave the ulcer slightly vulnerable.
Because of the wound’s vulnerability and the importance of new skin growth, protection and care of the site following debridement is crucial! Always follow your doctor’s advice and keep in communication with them. Common advice is to keep the wound wrapped and covered by clean dressing, changing regularly, as well as treating it with a wound care and cleaner like Dakin’s. Dakin’s Solution can help protect ulcers from infection, helping them to heal as quickly as possible and is easy on skin, avoiding irritation, stinging, and discomfort.