What is Effective In Treating Diabetic Wound Healing?
Almost 30 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, which is a disease that affects the entire organism.
Diabetes can impact the onset of many other conditions that might harm your health significantly. Patients whose blood sugar is poorly regulated are at a higher risk of developing different kinds of diseases than those who are trying to maintain healthy sugar levels – therefore, it’s essential not to neglect it. Apart from diabetic retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy, which are among the most common issues caused by diabetes, people may also suffer from the diabetic wound. It’s a type of foot injury whose progression may bring severe consequences, especially when it’s not treated on time.
The options for diabetic wound healing are different, and they may include the methods of both modern and traditional medicine. One of the efficient treatments you should consider is acupuncture and herbs, which have delivered a variety of measurable outcomes so far.
This article will explain the entire concept of a diabetic wound and its possible treatment solutions, including acupuncture and Chinese herbs. You’ll get a broader picture of the idea and benefits of alternative medicine, whose practice has brought remarkable improvements.
What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open wound that’s often located on the bottom of the foot. It can come as a result of minor wounds, cuts, burns, or any other injuries that might seem insignificant. Still, it may be dangerous for people with diabetes, whose wounds heal much slower.
A diabetic wound is prone to infections, which can quickly develop. They can even spread to tissue and bone near the wound or more distant parts of the body, bringing fatal consequences to a person’s health, mainly due to insufficient care.
Even if there are no signs of infection, a foot ulcer can affect a person’s quality of life. Affected people may face difficulties while walking, exercising, or doing any other activity.
It’s essential to start the treatment as soon as possible since that’s the only way to prevent the progression of a disease that may lead to severe complications.
What are the Most Common Diabetic Foot Ulcer Causes?
The primary cause of foot ulcers is diabetes. People who use insulin are more prone to such an issue, as well as those whose blood sugar levels are poorly maintained. Other factors that may impact the ulcer onset include the duration of diabetes and diabetes-related kidney, eye, or heart disease.
Other factors responsible for ulcer include:
- Peripheral neuropathy may make you lose feeling in the foot, which is why you may not be able to notice any changes. Neuropathy also comes as a result of elevated blood glucose levels, causing nerve damage.
- Poor circulation may be the reason why your wound won’t heal as fast as it should.
- A foot deformity, which may include hammertoes or bunions, are also among the reasons why some people deal with an ulcer.
- Wearing inappropriate shoes may seem insignificant, but you should know that it may be fatal for diabetic wound progression. Therefore, make sure you’re wearing padded and comfortable shoes most of the time.
- Vascular diseases often reduce the body’s ability to heal and increase the risk of infection. Therefore, they can complicate a foot ulcer.
Obesity, alcohol abuse, and tobacco can also play a significant role in ulcer development, which is why you’re advised to implement healthier habits in your lifestyle.
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What are Typical Diabetic Foot Ulcer Symptoms?
In most cases, people who develop ulcers have already lost the ability to feel, which is why pain is usually not considered a common sign.
However, other symptoms will require immediate medical care:
- Drainage from your foot that usually stains your socks
- Unusual swelling
- Foot irritation
The most visible sign of ulcer involves a black tissue (eschar), which surrounds the diabetic wound. It means that there’s a lack of healthy blood flow around it and that the disease has progressed.
5 Diabetic Foot Ulcer Stages
If not treated on time, a diabetic foot may progress and bring fatal consequences that affect a person’s overall health.
According to many assertions, a foot ulcer can be divided into 5 stages:
- (0) Intact skin
- (1) Superficial ulcer
- (2) Deep ulcer to the tendon
- (3) Deep ulcer with abscess or osteomyelitis
- (4) Forefoot gangrene
- (5) Whole foot gangrene.
The stages are determined based on the presence of ischemia or infection. Non-infective ulcers can often be treated without surgery, the infective stages may require adequate diabetic wound care and antibiotics, while some more severe stages (4 and 5, for example), may require surgery or even amputation.
Accordingly, it’s critical to visit your doctor as soon as you notice any unusual changes on your foot. When discovered early, the chances of a successful diabetic ulcer treatment are much higher than when it’s discovered later.
What are the Most Efficient Diabetic Ulcer Treatments?
The right diabetic wound treatment will primarily depend on the stage of your disease. However, it’s essential to start the treatment as soon as possible, because you can prevent the infection and get better results sooner.
Once your doctor determines the severity of your ulcer, they may suggest the use of certain diabetic foot ulcer treatment antibiotics, including cephalexin, clindamycin, or amoxicillin-clavulanate. Such agents are useful for treating mild infections, and they are taken orally.
However, if your disease has progressed to a more severe stage, your doctor may recommend surgery or even amputation. Although such procedures will prevent the infection from spreading to the entire body, they bring no relief to a patient. Therefore, most of them will seek alternative methods that might help them solve the problem without having to go under the knife.
Acupuncture and Herbs for Treating Diabetes-Related Conditions
Diabetes can trigger the onset of a variety of diseases that can affect the entire human organism. It’s particularly dangerous when a person’s blood sugar levels are poorly regulated, which causes a lot of problems.
Diabetes-related issues are successfully treated with Eastern medicine methods, which are aimed at mitigating the harmful effects of the underlying cause, which is, in this case, diabetes. The most common practices provided by Eastern medicine include acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which have proven their efficiency in treating a plethora of conditions.
Both acupuncture and herbs are safe for treating diabetes symptoms. Namely, they can help you with weight loss, metabolism regulation, organ function, nerve pain, and regulation of sugar levels.
A typical acupuncture session involves the insertion of small, thin, and stainless steel needles into the specific acupoints found on the different body parts. That way, your body releases the vital energy (qi), which is responsible for a person’s well-being. Such energy is recognized as a “life force.”
Since foot ulcer is caused by diabetes, your certified acupuncturist will focus on improving your blood sugar levels and mitigating the risks of the infection progression. Have a look at the following benefits of acupuncture for diabetes:
- Acupuncture reduces feelings of pain because it impacts the release of endorphins, vital for triggering positive feelings in your body, and blocking the pain at the same time.
- Acupuncture helps to regulate your sugar levels since it regulates cortisol, a hormone that signalizes your body to feel stress. Namely, it helps your body achieve the balance of your body parts that are unable to regulate your sugar levels by themselves.
- Acupuncture raises your awareness about a healthy lifestyle, which is essential for people with diabetes. The best way to control your sugar levels is to implement healthy habits to your lifestyle, which you’ll achieve through diet, exercise and adequate lifestyle choices.
Overall, acupuncture can help improve your pancreas function and insulin levels, preventing the development of many diseases.
According to licensed practitioners, the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs delivers the best results in treating diabetes-related conditions. The most commonly used combination involves the utilization of acupuncture and moxibustion, which are efficient for lowering glucose levels.
Moxibustion is a process of burning dried mugwort on particular places of the body. The heat is applied near the skin until it turns red – such a technique is essential for impacting the blood flow and improving circulation.
A practitioner may stimulate the points manually, using a small electrical current, or they can implement the moxibustion for warming the points. A typical procedure may last from 10 to 30 minutes, during which the needles remain in place.
Other Chinese herbs are also used for reducing diabetes symptoms. Practitioners often recommend different kinds of herbs based on the type of diabetes you have, having in mind other conditions you might have been diagnosed with.
Here is how Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) helps to heal diabetic foot wound in different stages:
- Ischemia before ulceration is the earliest stage where the ulceration has not occurred yet. Some of the symptoms you may be facing include darkened skin, numbness, and feeling cold, and they usually worsen at night. The use of injections and herbs provided by the TCM can stimulate the blood flow and unblock the energy that will impact the quicker wound heal.
- Diabetic foot with ulceration is the stage where the ulceration is present, no matter whether it’s infective or not. The symptoms include dry mouth, burning pain, insomnia, dark purple tongue, and more. The goal of the TCM is to remove toxins from your body and activate blood to clear the heat – that way, the progression of the disease can be stopped on time.
- Diabetic foot with severe gangrene is a terminal stage where symptoms are getting worse. Such a stage is more complicated to treat than the previously-mentioned ones, but the TCM provides the methods that make that process possible. The medications prescribed by your practitioner will improve the gangrene, promote local blood circulation, and remove toxins from the organism.
Photobiomodulation Treatment (PBM)
Photobiomodulation (PBM) is another efficient diabetic foot ulcer treatment, which involves the application of low-level polychromatic and coherent light in order to stimulate wound healing.
It uses a photobiomodulation device, also called a cold laser. It emits the light that brings significant improvements, which often include:
- Increase of local blood flow
- Increase of local temperature of the irradiated areas
- Induction of proteins that promote local wound repair
- Induction of transformation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, responsible for accelerating the healing process
- Increase the total collagen content
- Stimulation of local cell growth, which includes epithelial cells
The entire photobiomodulation treatment is safe and brings no side effects. It will prevent you from undergoing lower-limb amputation, which is why patients tend to choose PBM over some other therapies.
Debridement involves removing surface debris and necrotic tissues. There are many methods of implementing this procedure:
- The surgical way is also known as the “sharp method,” and it’s performed with scalpels. It’s rapid and effective.
- Enzymatic debridement is a costly procedure that involves the use of a variety of enzymatic agents, such as crab-derived collagenase, collagen from krill, papain, and more. Such agents are vital because they’re able to remove the necrotic tissue without damaging the healthy one.
- Biological debridement is also known as “maggot therapy.” Namely, fly larvae are able to digest surface debris, bacteria, and necrotic tissue only, making sure no healthy tissue’s been damaged.
- Autolytic method uses the body’s own enzymes and moisture to rehydrate, soften, and liquefy hard eschar on your foot.
How to Prevent Diabetic Wound Progression?
An ulcer may bring a lot of severe consequences, which is why you should be ready to take certain measurements to prevent its development. Here are some pieces of advice:
- Keep blood glucose levels under control
- Make sure the ulcer is always clean and bandaged
- Clean the wound daily and use adequate wound dressing or bandage
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine To Improve Bodies Systemic Functions
Don’t neglect any changes on your foot since some of them may cause severe infections, which often lead to gangrene. Such stages are more complicated and require more care in order to be cured entirely.
Makari Wellness is a Number One Acupuncture Clinic for Diabetic Wound Care
No patient likes to hear the words amputation or surgery – especially when they know that their condition has progressed and become more severe.
Alternative methods for ulcer healing provided by Makari Wellness have helped people eliminate the need for surgery or amputation, making sure you get the best diabetic wound care available. We combine the best techniques that include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and photobiomodulation to deliver you the best outcomes. Do not wait until the last minute, improve your circualtion and bodie’s healing abilities before wounds and ulcers develop.
Book your appointment with Michael Woodworth, our licensed acupuncturist at (888) 871-8889 and get ready to see significant improvements. One of Southern California’s best trained acupuncturists and most accomplished herbalists.