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Diabetes Awareness Month

Palomar Health raises awareness about diabetes complications

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During American Diabetes Month, Palomar Health diabetes experts are drawing attention to some shocking statistics about the disease and providing information to people who are concerned about diabetes-related amputations.

• Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among adults in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

• Comprehensive foot care programs, which include risk assessment, foot-care education, preventive therapy, treatment of foot problems and referral to specialists, can reduce amputation rates by 45 to 85 percent, according to the association.

"Diabetic patients face multiple challenges in the healing process. Their circulation is diminished and they have an impaired ability to sense the earliest stages of foot injury due to disease-related nerve damage," says Palomar Health Wound Care Centers Medical Director Roger Schechter, M.D., FACEP, FCCWS.

The Wound Care Centers in San Marcos and Poway are dedicated to the care of patients with chronic, non-healing wounds that threaten limbs and conditions receptive to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Palomar Health is committed to advancing wound healing.

Palomar Health Wound Care Centers use state-of-the-art equipment and leading-edge therapies to help reduce the risk of amputation. This includes the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.

The centers' use of advanced wound care therapy along with a multidisciplinary model of care has resulted in a 93 percent patient healing rate.

Wound Care physicians recommend that people with diabetes manually inspect their feet each day and seek immediate attention if a lower extremity wound has increased pain, redness or swelling, foul wound odor, a change in color or a change in the amount of drainage.

They urge people with diabetes who have problems with their legs to visit their health care providers if they have any of the following symptoms:

• pain in the legs or cramping in the buttocks, thighs or calves during physical activity;

• tingling, burning or painful feet;

• loss of sense of touch or the ability to feel heat or cold in the feet;

• changes in the shape, color or temperature of the feet;

• hair loss on the toes, feet and lower legs;

• dry or cracked skin on the feet;

• thick and yellow toenails or fungus infections between the toes;

• blisters, sores, infected corns and ingrown toenails.

In addition to the wound care centers, Palomar Health offers diabetes management classes. Managing diabetes significantly reduces the risk of diabetic wounds.

Palomar Health Diabetes Services classes are designed to help individuals with diabetes improve their health and quality of life. The program has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association's Recognition Program for five years.

For more information on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, contact Palomar Health Wound Centers by calling 858-613-6255 or 760-510-7300.

For information on diabetes education and management, contact Palomar Health Diabetes Services at 760-510-7377.

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