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Veterans & Diabetic Foot Ulcers: A Review of Existing Research

More than 25% of veterans have been diagnosed with type II diabetes. That means 1 in 4 people receiving care at Veteran Administration (VA) hospitals are being treated for the disease. According to the U.S. government, service members who were exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk of developing diabetes. Last year, the Detroit Free Press reported that the number of diabetes cases rose from 135,000 to nearly 323,000 in the past nine years. That’s more than 10% of the military personnel who went to Vietnam.

vietnam veterans agent orange

Diabetes is the most prevalent disease among Vietnam veterans.
Image Source: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tristan Miller via Wikimedia.org

In fact, more Vietnam vets are receiving compensation for diabetes than for any other health issue, including post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss, or general wounds. The average veteran receives about $3,000 for diabetes care alone. Along with diabetes comes the risk of diabetic foot ulcers, which occur when pressure causes breaks in the skin and those slow-healing wounds become infected.

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Examining the Medical, Drug, and Work Loss Costs of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Healthcare cost in America has been a hot topic in the news for the past several years, as our nation’s leaders look at ways to curb expenses and make top-level care more affordable for the masses. At the very least, the economic burden of diabetes-related complications should remain a motivator for individuals with the disease to strive toward careful health management.

Did you know that the average cost to heal a diabetic foot ulcer is $8,000? For a wound that has become infected, this number skyrockets up to $17,000, according to a report published in Clinical Diabetes, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association. Beyond the medical bills, the cost of diabetic foot ulcers to society is astronomical.

diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers result from a complex interaction of multiple risk factors.

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Examining Diabetes Feet: Populations with Increased Risk and Helpful Prevention Measures

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, it is listed as an underlying cause or contributing factor on more than 230,000 death certificates. Complications like kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and amputation are of grave concern.

diabetes complications

Diabetes complications make the disease the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

At Shoe Care Innovations, we are particularly concerned about diabetes feet and amputations. Did you know that the 5-year mortality rate of diabetics with lower limb amputations is nearly 50%? We hope to change that by introducing Americans to a new way of helping to prevent diabetic foot infections.

For a myriad of reasons, some populations in America are at greater risk for the development of diabetes than others. We’ll take a look at the statistics and discuss why these groups should consider investing in ultraviolet light shoe sanitization devices as part of their daily health care regimen.

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Examining PDRN: Tissue Repair Drug Helps Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers

For most people, fungi and bacteria are an inconvenience warranting a trip to the doctor’s and a course of antibiotics or antifungal medication. However, people with diabetes literally risk life and limb by not treating these pathogens immediately, at the first sign of infection. Diabetic foot ulcers are lesions that do not heal in a timely fashion. When sores do not heal, microbial colonies flourish and spread among the surrounding tissues, causing cell death and gangrene that may warrant amputation. These sores also become an open portal to the body to pick up deadly infections, like staph and MRSA.

diabetic foot infection

Diabetic foot ulcers are no joke. They can result in amputation of toes, portions of the foot, or entire limbs.

We created a device called the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer to kill off dangerous pathogens living inside the footwear of diabetics. Limiting the amount of microbes you come into contact with is an important facet of treatment. People who already have diabetic foot ulcers will need to aggressively treat the infection under the care of a doctor. Recently, researchers found that a certain tissue repair drug makes patients with ulcers twice as likely to heal within eight weeks when compared to a placebo.

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Awareness and Prevention: How Do Diabetic Foot Ulcers Lead to Amputations?

The Amputation Prevention Centers of America says that nearly 1 in 5 diabetic foot infections require some sort of amputation. “If ulcers can be prevented, up to 85% of amputations may also be prevented,” says Dr. Francesco Squadrito, MD, of the University of Messina, Italy. It’s clear that diabetic foot ulcers many times result in amputations, but why? Shouldn’t we have more options for diabetic foot ulcer treatment in 2014?

diagram showing typical locations of foot ulcers

Foot ulcers usually appear on the bottom of the feet, but may also affect the toes.

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Addressing Concerns for Diabetics: Skin Care Products for Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Shoe Care Innovations invented the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer as an easy way of ridding one’s footwear of bacteria and fungi that could otherwise thrive and multiply into enormous colonies and cause festering foot infections. Ultraviolet light is a safe, natural, and effective method of preventing pathogens from reproducing or doing the body any harm. For people with diabetes, it’s especially important to keep the feet as clean and sanitized as possible. Our microbe-fighting product is one step in preventing diabetic foot infections. Prevention of an ulcerous break in the skin is another important factor to consider, so we’ve compiled a list of pressure ulcer prevention products.

antimicrobial cleanser

HibiClens is a hospital-grade antimicrobial cleanser diabetics can use on their feet.

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When Foot Health is Not an Option: Ulcer Recurrence Is a Huge Problem for Diabetics

Of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, 65,700 patients receive lower limb amputations each year. Diabetes itself does not cause the need for amputation, so how does a person wind up in such a troubling position? The fact is, minor sores can turn into big problems for individuals with diabetes, especially when one’s footwear is covered in bacteria. A goal of Shoe Care Innovations is to provide diabetics with tools they can use at home to maintain a more sanitary environment and decrease exposure to harmful pathogens that could cause life-threatening foot infections.

foot amputations

Diabetes is responsible for more than 60% of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations.
Image Source: FDiabetes.Wordpress.com

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Promising Treatment Method: Will Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help to Heal Diabetic Foot Wounds?

A person recently wrote in to The Town Talk concerned about their 84-year-old diabetic father who has had a foot wound for five months. A podiatrist debrided the diabetic foot wound, prescribed antibiotics, and changed the bandages regularly, but the writer was wondering if hyperbaric treatment could help in this case. Many users of the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer are diabetics who are also worried about foot health and hygiene, so the portent for hyperbaric oxygen treatment is something we’re very much interested in.

chronic diabetic foot wound

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an advanced treatment for chronic diabetic foot wounds.
Image Source: MemorialHermann.org

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5 Tips to Manage Type II Diabetes Symptoms

Type II Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when elevated levels of blood sugar persist. Most cases of Type II Diabetes are preventable with healthy diet and exercise habits, but factors like age, gender and genetics can also contribute to the development of the disease. Once you have Type II Diabetes, you are stuck with it, so understanding how to manage the symptoms through lifestyle modification is key.

type 2 diabetes

85% of Type 2 Diabetes cases and side effects can be prevented, delayed or treated.
Image Source: Healthline.com

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Innovation in Preventative Care: Can Smart Socks Detect Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

Ten to fifteen percent of diabetics will suffer a foot ulcer over the course of their lifetime. A wound that won’t heal may not sound like such a big deal, but the longer it takes for a wound to heal, the longer it is at risk of becoming infected. Worse yet, the risk of amputation correlates with an increase in mortality within the next five years! Researchers are scrambling to find new ways of helping diabetics prevent the complications associated with a foot ulcer through early detection. Our product — the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer — helps diabetics keep their footwear free from bacteria, viruses, and fungi, but we are also interested in the latest scientific development, such as ulcer-detecting socks.

diebetic foot ulcer costs

Diabetic foot ulcers cost U.S. hospitals $43,000 per patient.
Image Source: Mölnlycke.com

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