DRWF

Anxiety over foot wounds healing keeps people with diabetes awake at night

Clinicians welcome longer-lasting dressing for people with diabetic foot ulcers.

PUBLISHED:Sep 27, 2018

CATEGORY:Looking after yourself

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A newly available wound dressing for people with diabetic foot ulcers can be worn for up to a week, reducing the amount of appointments with NHS foot specialists.

As recently reported, foot wounds related to diabetes can affect patients for decades, with many wound patients reporting that they had to have dressings changed on average five times a week.

The new wound dressing, by Mepilex, could help patients feel more independent and NHS clinicians said the longer wear time could lead to a reduction in associated healthcare costs – helping clinicians better manage their budgets.

Dr Paul Chadwick, Honorary Consultant Podiatrist Salford Royal (NHS) Trust, said: “Ensuring a high quality of wound care is absolutely essential to patients’ quality of life, but visiting patients to change dressings takes a significant amount of community nurses’ time. Investment in superior dressings can reduce the frequency of changes without compromising on patient care or comfort. It can help reduce overall treatment costs, at a time when our healthcare system is really under pressure.”

Chronic wound patient Nicholas Booth from Surrey said “Living with chronic wounds, which look like gunshot wounds, on the back of each leg definitely affects me emotionally. Day to day I am in pain – which can be mild or severe depending on how the wound was dressed at my last appointment – and this affects my sleep and, as I’m over-tired, my ability to work. However the biggest impact is the anxiety: is the wound healing underneath the dressing? Is it worse? Might it get infected? That keeps me awake at night.”

More than 200 people with chronic wounds took part in a survey carried out by wound care providers Mölnlycke.

A third of people with diabetes-related foot ulcers reported their wound has a “high impact on their quality of life” with an average of five wound dressing changes each week.

More than 2.8 million people in the UK are currently living with a chronic wound. The survey reported that the average patient with a chronic wound is affected for more than 8 months, with an estimated 300,000 (11%) patients going beyond the 1 year mark.

If you have a wound which does not heal see your podiatrist immediately.

Read the DRWF leaflet How can diabetes affect my feet?

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Healthy Living Guidelines

A healthy diet and diabetes

Healthy eating for people with diabetes is important because it can help:

  • Maintain blood glucose control and reduce the risk of complications
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the tissue damage associated with high blood glucose levels
  • Support management of body weight
  • Maintain quality of life

A healthy diet should include a wide variety of foods, not too many fatty and sugary foods, not too much salt and plenty of fibre-rich foods including fruit and vegetables.

Top tips for healthy eating

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Reduce fat, especially saturated (animal) fat
  • Reduce salt intake – the most effective way of doing this is to cut out as many processed foods as possible
  • Increase intake of omega 3 oils – try eating at least two servings of oily fish per week
  • Reduce alcohol intake

The above is an extract from the DRWF Patient Information Leaflet A Healthy Diet and Diabetes v8.0, published August 2018 (reviewed within an 18 month period).

The benefits of exercise

People who exercise have lower blood pressure, lower heart rates and improved circulation. They also have lower cholesterol and less body fat, as well as higher rates of metabolism and consequently better weight control. They sleep better, have more energy, are less stressed/anxious and tend to be happier and more confident.

Why is exercise important for someone with diabetes?

Unlike medication, exercise is low cost and side-effect free. Those with diabetes who don’t exercise are three times more likely to have poor diabetes control and more likely to suffer related complications. Exercising regularly also improves sensitivity to the body’s own insulin and the body becomes better at transporting glucose. This happens because exercise stimulates the body’s muscles.

Exercise also reduces the level of fat in the body and it is thought that mobilisation of the body’s fat stores by exercising that might improve blood glucose control. Less glucose in the blood, because it’s now stored in the body’s muscle, means the blood flows better and some of the blood vessel complications associated with diabetes, may be avoided.

Top tips to get started

  • Check with your GP or diabetes healthcare provider that your diabetes is presently stable enough to allow you to begin an exercise routine
  • Start with small bouts of exercise of around 5-10 minutes per day and build up gradually
  • Find an exercise partner to provide motivation and accountability
  • Choose something you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick at it
  • Find out about Healthy Walk schemes or other exercise related events in your area

The above is an extract from the DRWF Patient Information Leaflet Exercise and Diabetes v3.0 (second print), published November 2016 (reviewed within an 18 month period).

  • Join a support group such as our Diabetes Wellness Network or a voluntary group, Hull and District diabetes Support Group
  • Attend a Diabetes Wellness Event where you will hear diabetes and related health talks; make new friends; share information and experiences in a supported environment
  • Search the web for information from reputable sources such as NHS Choices or look for sites which provide health and social care information which is accredited through the NHS England Information Standard Scheme
  • Share concerns and seek support from like-minded individuals through social media channels such as the DRWF diabetes forum on HealthUnlocked or look at our Twitter and Facebook pages, there are a significant number of people with diabetes, parents and carers and healthcare professionals who share their thoughts and seek the support of each other through the Diabetes Online Community, using the #DOC hashtag

Diabetes is never mild and a diagnosis can be a daunting prospect but with the right support and advice, it can be managed effectively.

  • Join a support group such as our Diabetes Wellness Network or a voluntary group, Hull and District diabetes Support Group
  • Attend a Diabetes Wellness Event where you will hear diabetes and related health talks; make new friends; share information and experiences in a supported environment
  • Search the web for information from reputable sources such as NHS Choices or look for sites which provide health and social care information which is accredited through the NHS England Information Standard Scheme
  • Share concerns and seek support from like-minded individuals through social media channels such as the DRWF diabetes forum on HealthUnlocked or look at our Twitter and Facebook pages, there are a significant number of people with diabetes, parents and carers and healthcare professionals who share their thoughts and seek the support of each other through the Diabetes Online Community, using the #DOC hashtag

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