Published on October 29, 2018

Nazareth Hospital Celebrates National Diabetes Awareness Month

Center for Wound Healing Raises Awareness of Diabetes Complications

Northeast Philadelphia (October 29, 2018) – Nazareth Hospital Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine will celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month and raise awareness for one of the most persistent and dangerous complications of diabetes – diabetic foot ulcers. As diabetes progresses, damage to nerves and blood vessels can create chronic, open wounds that do not heal properly and can cause complete loss of feeling in patients’ feet or legs. These wounds can decrease quality of life, shorten lifespan and possibly result in amputation. Nazareth Hospital offers advanced therapies to patients suffering from chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers.

“At the rate diabetes is increasing nationally, community members should know the risk factors and treatment options for chronic wounds,” said Steven Wilbraham, M.D., Medical Director of Nazareth Hospital Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine. “Here, we provide compassionate care to help patients with diabetes better understand, manage and overcome the serious, life altering effects of diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic wounds.”

Approximately 25 percent of people living with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. As many as 40 percent of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop a new ulcer within a year. An estimated 14 to 24 percent of people with foot ulcers will experience an amputation, which results in decreased quality of life, increased medical costs and a significantly higher risk of death.

Early detection and intervention of diabetic foot ulcers can help improve both quality of life and life expectancy. The Nazareth Hospital Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine recommends the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers.

  • Stop smoking immediately, if applicable.
  • Schedule comprehensive foot examinations with your healthcare provider at least four times per year.
  • Conduct daily self-inspections of your feet. Or, if you need help, ask a family member.
  • Take regular care of your feet, including having a healthcare professional cut your toenails and take care of corns and calluses.
  • Wear supportive, proper footwear and always wear socks.
  • Take steps to improve circulation, such as eating healthier and exercising on a daily basis.

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, including seven million who are unaware they are living with the disease. Risk factors for diabetes include age, diet, activity level, obesity and heredity. Diabetic foot ulcers can be caused by high blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues, nerve damage and infection.

Proper wound care is imperative to healing diabetic foot ulcers. The Wound Care Center at Nazareth Hospital offers a number of leading-edge treatments, including specialized wound care therapies that can aid in wound closure, new tissue growth and wound tissue regeneration, among others.

If you or a loved one have a wound that will not heal, call 215.335.7606 or visit www.mercyhealth.org/services/wound-healing to schedule an appointment with Nazareth Hospital’s wound care experts.