Health Articles

Every Hour Seven People with Diabetes Have an Amputation

November is American Diabetes Month and the health care experts at Portneuf Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center are drawing attention to the fact that every hour seven people across the country lose a foot or leg to the disease, which is the leading cause of lower-limb amputations not caused by accidents.

"Diabetic patients are faced with multiple challenges in the wound healing process. Because of poor circulation and disease-associated nerve damage, diabetic patients may develop wounds that do not heal as expected." said Dr. Jared Price, Wound Care Specialist at Portneuf Medical Center.

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one in three people with diabetes ages 40 and older have at least one area on their feet that lacks feeling. Those at greater risk for nerve damage include diabetics who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar, high cholesterol, weight or blood pressure.

Statistically, one in 20 diabetics will develop a wound on the legs or feet each year. The risk of amputations can be reduced by 45 to 85 percent through foot care programs that can include risk assessment, education, treatment of foot problems and referrals to specialists.

State-of-the-art equipment and leading edge therapies are also playing a key role in reducing the risk of amputation. Portneuf Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center offers individualized, private hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies to combat problematic wounds.

The experts at Portneuf Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center note the following as indications of problems diabetics may have with their legs and urge people to discuss symptoms they may have with their healthcare providers:

  • Pain in the legs or cramping in the buttocks, thighs or calves during physical activity
  • Tingling, burning or painful feet
  • Loss of sense of touch or the ability to feel heat or cold in the feet
  • Changes in the shape, color or temperature of the feet
  • Hair loss on the toes, feet and lower legs
  • Dry or cracked skin on the feet
  • Thick and yellow toenails or fungus infections between the toes
  • Blisters, sores, infected corns and ingrown toenails

Physicians at Portneuf Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center recommend people with diabetes manually inspect their feet each day and seek immediate attention if a lower extremity wound or sore has increased pain, redness or swelling, foul wound odor, or a change in color or change in amount of drainage.

For more information on the treatment of diabetic foot wounds or other non-healing sores, contact Portneuf Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center located at 777 Hospital Way, Suite G-1 or call (208)239-2670.