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Foot ulcers can be managed for diabetics

Because November was National Diabetes Awareness month, St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, is offering tips to manage foot ulcers if a person is diabetic.

According to the CDC, an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, including 7.2 million who are unaware they are living with the disease. The percentage of adults with diabetes increases with age, reaching a high of 25.2 percent among those aged 65 years, or older.

In addition to age, risk factors for diabetes include diet, activity level, obesity and heredity. High blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune systems issues, nerve damage and infection, may contribute to a diabetic foot ulcer.

“With America’s diabetic population expected to nearly double by 2030, it is important that our community understands the risks and know the facts associated with diabetic foot ulcers,” said Toni McCutcheon, program director, St. Joseph’s Center for Wound Care. “It’s estimated that approximately 25 percent of people living with diabetes, will develop a foot ulcer, and that 14-24 percent of people with foot ulcers, will experience an amputation. The key is prevention.”

Early detection and intervention can help mitigate the possibility of limb loss. The wound care center recommends the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers:

• Stop smoking immediately.

• Have comprehensive foot examinations each time there is a visit to the family healthcare provider.

• Inspect feet daily, or have a family member perform the inspection.

• Take regular care of the feet, including cleaning toenails, and taking care of corns and calluses.

• Choose supportive, proper shoes and socks.

• Take steps to improve circulation – eat healthier and exercise on a regular basis.