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Diabetes Patients 15 Times More At Risk For Chronic Wounds

Posted on June 15, 2015

Stacy Smithers, M.D. Medical Director South Central Wound Care

Stacy Smithers, M.D.
Medical Director
South Central Wound Care

Eight million Americans suffer from a chronic wound annually, and 15% of diabetics will have a non-healing wound sometime during their lifetime. Most people do not realize that without proper treatment these non-healing open ulcers can be so severe they lead to amputations so it is not an issue that should be taken lightly. It is hard to believe that 60,000 people with diabetes will have some type of amputation.

According to Laurel General Surgeon Stacy Smithers, M.D. and the Medical Director of South Central Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program,  it is important for those with a non-healing wound to get it checked before the condition advances to a severe state. “We are all exposed to common bacteria which are present on our skin and in our surrounding environment. You can see how an open ulcer can become infected very quickly without proper treatment,” Dr. Smithers said.

When asked where wounds are typically found on the body, Dr. Smithers said, “Wounds are most commonly found on the feet, ankles, heels, and calves. For those who are unable to walk, wounds are commonly found on their hips, thighs and buttocks. Typically, a wound that does not respond to normal medical care within 30 days is considered a chronic wound.  These may include a diabetic food ulcer, a venous-related ulceration, a non-healing surgical wound, a pressure ulcer, a wound that repeatedly breaks down, or other conditions.”

Patients who are treated at South Central Wound Care in Laurel are provided individualized treatment plans that include the most advanced wound care therapies available today, including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy exposes the body to 100 % oxygen at a pressure that is greater than what you normally experience. To heal properly, wounds need oxygen, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows more oxygen to be present in your blood, speeding the healing process

Many people think that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is the only service provided at a wound care center. “Not all patients require oxygen therapy,” Dr. Smithers said. “Our professional wound care personnel provide: Add to the list of services offered:

Debridement

Wound dressing

Infection control

Bioengineered skin substitutes

Vascular testing

Negative pressure wound therapy

Diabetic foot care

Nutritional counseling

Diabetic Foot Screening

Compression wraps

Burn management

Diagnostic testing

Total contact casting

and Smoking cessation counseling,” she said.

How do you know if your wound is infected?

 Dr. Smithers said the best way to know if your wound is infected is to look for the following symptoms:

Pain that increases over time

Redness and warmth around the wound

An odor coming from the wound.

Oozing from the area.

If you have one or all of these symptoms, do not delay. South Central’s Wound Care Center does not require a physician referral and can be contacted directly by the patient or family member by calling the center.

The state-of-the-art center opened in 2010 and has provided more than 10,000 treatments to patients in this region using its comprehensive approach to wound care treatment that advances the healing process.  It is located on the ground floor of South Central Regional Medical Center and features 5 patient rooms and two hyperbaric chambers, along with a full medical staff to provide assistance in the healing process. Diabetic foot screenings are provided quarterly by the center. The screening is free, however, preregistration is required.

“A serious wound can have a serious impact on an individual’s quality of life,” Dr. Smithers concluded. “Wound care treatment can be life changing. It is important to know you do not have to live that way. Give us a call today.”

To learn more about the South Central Wound Care Center and Hyperbaric Medicine program contact the center by calling 601.426.4739.