Ottumwa Regional’s Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center recognizes November as National Diabetes Awareness Month. Sadly, more than 23 million Americans and 246 million individuals world-wide suffer from diabetes. But did you know that this preventable disease is also the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations? Every 30 seconds, a diabetic loses a limb to their disease. Why?
It is very important for diabetic patients to understand the danger of non-healing wounds and how it relates to their diabetes.
“People who have diabetes tend to have poor blood circulation to their extremities, especially to their feet,” shares Dr. Jessica Lewis, Medical Director of ORHC Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center. “This can lead to an inability of the body to heal from cuts, scrapes or breaks in the skin. Additionally, diabetics can develop neuropathy, a condition where they lose sensation to their skin. For example, if a patient with diabetes has a small pebble in their shoe, the body doesn’t register this discomfort and signal the brain. The pain goes unnoticed and they continue to put pressure on the pebble, slowly embedding it into the skin of their foot and causing a sore. So it’s very important to frequently check for skin breaks of any kind on your arms, hands, legs and feet.”
If you should find a sore or break in the skin that does not heal readily, get medical attention as soon as possible. Your primary care provider can determine a plan to treat your wound. If your wound doesn’t heal within 30 days, you may need the services of the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, located at Ottumwa Regional Health Center. “We can determine a plan of care to quickly and completely heal problem wounds,” says Jessica Kanaskie, Program Director, “including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a medical treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber. We have two hyperbaric chambers and experienced staff on hand 5 days a week.”
The staff has planned outreach activities for November, including education for nurses and staff at nursing homes in the community on identifying patients with problem wounds.
If you would like more information on wound healing and hyperbaric therapy, please call the experts at ORHC’s Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at 641-684-2530.