If you suffer from Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, it can be a deadly combination. It can also predispose you to develop diabetic foot ulcers. So what is a diabetic foot ulcer? Well, it is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes. It is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of the patients who develop a foot ulcer, about 6 percent will be hospitalized for infection or other ulcer-related complications.
There are several causes of diabetic foot ulcers. Those who use insulin are at greater risk of developing a foot ulcer because the disease is more severe in those patients and not because of insulin. And these patients also have a risk of diabetes-related eye, kidney, and heart disease. If you are overweight and use alcohol and tobacco, you are also at much greater risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer.
Ulcers form due to a combination of factors. Some of them are poor circulation, lack of feeling in the foot, foot deformities, irritation, such as friction or pressure, and trauma. The duration of diabetes also plays a role. Patients with chronic diabetes can develop neuropathy, which is a lack of ability to feel pain in the feet, due to nerve damage caused by elevating blood glucose levels over time. Also, vascular disease can complicate a diabetic foot ulcer, reducing the body’s ability to heal, and increasing the risk for an infection.
Prevention of Diabetic Foot Ulcers
When it comes to a diabetic foot ulcer, prevention is definitely better than cure. You should visit your Interventional Radiologist / Endovascular Surgeon to find out if you are at risk to develop a foot ulcer. You are at high risk if you do or have one or more of the following along with diabetes:
- Poor circulation
- A foot deformity (such as a bunion)
- Wearing inappropriate shoes
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- History of a previous foot ulceration
You should also reduce other risk factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol, and elevated blood glucose levels. You should exercise regularly. You should also wear the appropriate shoes and socks. Your doctor can suggest the right shoes for you to wear.
You should also regularly check your feet every day, especially the sole and between the toes.
You should check for cuts, bruises, cracks, blisters, redness, ulcers, and any other sign of abnormality. Each time you visit your doctor, remove your shoes and socks so he can check your legs and feet for the signs of impending ulcers.
Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Once an ulcer has developed, the cause should be ascertained. Is it neuropathic, vascular, or both? A neuropathic ulcer must be protected from further injury until it heals. Strenuous efforts must be made to prevent another ulcer from forming by wearing the appropriate footwear.
A vascular or ischaemic ulcer should be evaluated by an Interventional Radiologist / Endovascular surgeon. He will determine the extent of damage and whether surgery is necessary. In extreme cases, this could mean partial amputation of a toe, foot, or limb. The Interventional Radiologist / Endovascular surgeon will also take an X-ray to determine whether the patient suffers from osteomyelitis (infection in a bone) followed by an Arterial doppler scan to evaluate the status of the arteries
The primary goal of treating a diabetic foot ulcer is to obtain healing as quickly as possible to prevent the ulcer from becoming infected. There are several key factors in the treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer. Some of them are:
- Prevention of infection
- Removing pressure from the area, called “offloading”
- Removing dead skin and tissue, called “debridement”
- Managing blood glucose and other health problems
- Applying medications and dressings to the ulcer
While not all ulcers are infected, if you do have an infected ulcer, you will need to undergo a treatment program of antibiotics, wound care, and possible hospitalization. You should also keep your blood glucose levels under tight control, keep the ulcer clean and bandaged, clean the wound daily, and avoid walking barefoot.
Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anti-clotting medications to treat your ulcer if the infection progresses even after anti-pressure or preventive treatments. Your Interventional Radiologist / Endovascular surgeon may also recommend non-surgical treatment like Stenting or Balloon Angioplasty for your diabetic foot ulcer which in most cases is curative.
Your Interventional Radiologist / Endovascular surgeon can alleviate pressure around your ulcer by shaving down the bone or removing foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes. If no other treatment option works, surgery can prevent your ulcer from becoming worse or leading to amputation.
Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at the Flow Vascular Clinic is an expert at treating diabetic foot ulcers. He will use a combination of procedures to treat the foot ulcer and prevent it from getting infected. He will encourage you to get your diabetes under control and will use all treatments that are suited to your condition.
He will treat you to prevent further complications that may arise due to diabetic foot ulcers. So, if you have a diabetic foot ulcer, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, because time is of the essence. He is the best person to treat your condition holistically and individually!
For more information about Diabetic Foot Ulcers, as well as the treatment for DVT, Varicose veins or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at email@example.com or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com