November is Diabetes Awareness Month and it is thought that around 30 million residents in the United States have diabetes, and another 80 million are living with pre-diabetes.
Dr. Janel Weaver, DNP, CWS of ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital (PDRH) has worked with many patients who suffer from chronic wounds during her career. Recently she completed her degree of Doctorate of Nursing Practice with a focus of healthcare systems leadership. This degree includes completing a research project that addresses a practice issue with many months of research from an implemented process in a clinical setting.
Janel’s goal was to assess patients through their primary care provider for foot ulcers or any foot issues relating to diabetes. Many patients who are diabetic are not aware they have foot issues or are not able to identify the severity of the problem. Often it may just appear as a callus to the untrained eye but in reality, there is a wound under the callus creating many problems that need wound care treatment.
“That is why it is important to have your provider check your feet every time you have a visit. This can help prevent serious wound issues. Ultimately, we want to be able to identify patients at high risk for diabetic foot related problems before wound care is needed,” said Janel about caring for patients.
“Unfortunately, 85% of major amputations whether it is a toe, foot, or in extreme cases, a leg, are diabetic patients with foot ulcers. Diabetic patients have a 25% risk of developing foot ulcers. Waiting to see a healthcare provider for a foot ulcer longer than six weeks increases the likelihood for amputation. We want to prevent as many wound complications as possible and have patients be their own healthcare advocate. Asking to have their feet looked at by their provider is the first step.”
The two main types of diabetes are Type 1, and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when beta cells from the pancreas that produce insulin are mistakenly attacked by the immune system.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, with around 90 percent of all cases. It occurs when an individual’s cells stop responding to insulin, or the cells cannot produce correct amounts of insulin. The blood sugar levels then become too high. The exact cause of Type 2 diabetes is not certain but contributing factors may be lack of exercise, increased weight, and genetics.
For more information about PDRH Wound Care call 419-783-6903.