SOUTH HOLLAND | Diabetes is a disease that is reaching epidemic proportions; approximately 17.9 million Americans have diabetes, and millions more are undiagnosed.
When uncontrolled, diabetes increases the risk for many serious health problems, including heart disease, eye and skin complications, and problems with the feet.
In fact, foot ulcers are the most common reason diabetics are hospitalized.
To increase awareness of diabetic foot ulcers and the most up-to-date treatments available, podiatrist Dale Brink, D.P.M., and general surgeon Bohdan Iwanetz, M.D., will discuss Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Advanced Treatment Options from 6 to 7 p.m. June 26 at the South Holland Recreation Center, 501 E. 170th St., just north of Thornwood High School. This free program is sponsored by the Ingalls Hyperbaric and Wound Center of Ingalls Memorial Hospital.
“Diabetic foot ulcers are often painless, so an individual with diabetes may not realize he or she has a problem until it becomes serious,” explains Iwanetz, a wound care-certified surgeon and medical director of the Ingalls Hyperbaric & Wound Center.
As a result, it may take several weeks or months for foot ulcers to heal.
“Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe,” Brink added. “Ulcers on the sides of the foot are usually due to poor-fitting shoes. Even though some ulcers do not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your healthcare provider right away.”
With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to avoid the most serious consequences of foot problems – severe infection and, in the most extreme cases, amputation of a limb.
Attendees at the June 26 program will learn about the Ingalls approach to healing the most challenging wounds caused by diabetes and vascular diseases, such as peripheral arterial disease and peripheral vascular disease.
“Ingalls offers one of the most experienced wound treatment centers in the south suburbs,” Iwanetz said. “We have performed more than 15,000 treatments with a greater-than-90-percent success rate for healing chronic and hard-to-heal wounds.”
At the Ingalls Hyperbaric and Wound Center, a multi-specialty staff, including physicians, podiatrists, nurses, technicians, physical therapists, dietitians and orthotic specialists, has advanced training in wound care.
If hyperbaric oxygen therapy is needed, the main hospital campus in Harvey utilizes three hyperbaric oxygen chambers capable of treating up to 15 patients a day. Diabetic foot wounds are one of the most common conditions treated with hyperbaric therapy at Ingalls.
“Diabetic wound care is a major challenge,” Brink added. “The disease causes poor blood flow to the extremities. Increasing oxygenation through HBOT brings white blood cells to the wound and causes new blood vessels to grow in the area, which aids in healing.”
For more information or to register for Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Advanced Treatments, call Ingalls Care Connection at (708) 915-CARE (2273), or log onto www.Ingalls.org.