DIABETIC FOOT: HOW TO AVOID INFECTIONS?

The lack of sensitivity to pain favors the opening of the wound and delays healing, exposing the lesions to various infections. What should be considered to favor the recovery?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood is higher than it should be. In the process is involved glucose in the blood, the main source of energy from certain foods and, on the other hand, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas and responsible for helping glucose enter the cells.

Sometimes the body does not produce insulin or does not use it properly. This causes that the glucose does not reach the cells, but it does in excess to the blood, which causes health complications such as diabetes. This disease is one of the biggest problems in the Public Health system and has increased dramatically in the last two decades.

According to epidemiological studies, the number of patients with diabetes has gone from 30 million cases in 1985 to 285 million in 2010 and it is estimated that in the year 2030 there will be more than 360 million cases. In Argentina, Type 2 Diabetes is responsible for almost 50% of non-traumatic amputations of lower limbs.

One of the most serious chronic complications and the frequent cause of hospitalization is diabetic foot. In this pathology, motor nerve function is inhibited and, in combination with vascular insufficiency, the patient is affected in his ability to recognize pain, including in burns due to lack of sensitivity to heat. Lack of sensitivity to pain can cause the wound to reopen and delay healing. This could expose the lesions to various infections.

Infections occur in more than half of the cases and between 10% and 30% of diabetic patients with a foot ulcer will eventually require an amputation, of which 60% are preceded by an infected ulcer. Care and recovery are essential to avoid amputations.

HOW TO TREAT THE DIABETIC FOOT?

The diabetic foot requires multidisciplinary treatments for its approach and the therapies will be chosen by specialists according to the degree of the patient’s condition (infection, vascular disease, bone involvement, etc). The first step of treatment for wound closure and reducing the chances of amputation in patients with diabetic foot ulcers is debridement or removal of dead tissue and infected material.

If the diagnosis indicates risk of amputation, Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment is presented as one of the advanced therapeutic alternatives for this pathology. Hyperbaric chamber treatment provides highly positive results. Contributes to improving the response to antibiotics in infections, changes the color of the foot, allows the patient to resume daily activities and sports that had suspended and achieves a faster healing of wounds and prevents major amputations.

Even some patients begin to experience pain in the toes, feeling that they had lost since the injury. In 2002 it was revealed that the average recovery rate of diabetic foot ulcers is 89% with hyperbaric treatment, compared to 61% of conventional treatment 1

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment (HBOT) is a non-invasive method that provides oxygen in high concentrations in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber at 1.45 atmospheres. Inside the chamber the patient breathes oxygen close to 100%, which will be transported through the blood, reaching, in greater concentration, all the tissues of the body, even those damaged.

References

  1. Heyneman CA, Lawless C. Using Hyperbaric Oxygen to Treat Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Safety and Effectiveness Critical Care Nurse 2002. 22 (6) 52-8

 

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