Diabetic foot ulceration is worryingly common, affecting around 64,000 people in the UK. Something as simple as walking can easily bring the ulceration on.
Diabetic neuropathy is the main cause of diabetic foot ulceration.High blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage, a condition affecting some 40% of people living with diabetes. This damage can mean a loss of feeling in the feet, so – should an injury to the feet occur – the injury may go unnoticed and therefore untreated. Further infections or ulcers can then take hold.
In extreme cases, diabetic foot ulcers can become so infected, and the tissues so damaged, that the foot has to be amputated. Mobility then becomes even more difficult, exacerbating the risk of cardio-vascular disease.
Unfortunately, approximately 50% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers will not survive beyond 5 years post-diagnosis. Furthermore, diabetic foot ulcers account for around 85% of amputations.
The Wagner Diabetic Foot Ulcer Classification System
Various classification systems can be used for describing the general characteristics of diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Doctors who use the Wagner system classify DFUs by their severity- the ulcer will be given a range from 0 to 5.
An ulcer that is graded as 0 is the least serious because the skin is intact. Grade 1 signifies a superficial ulcer on the skin’s outer layers. Grade 2 is a much deeper ulcer. Grade 3 is an ulcer where the bone has been affected, while Grade 4 alludes to dead tissue or gangrene. Finally, the most serious grading – grade 5 – is given to ulcers where gangrene has spread to the entire foot. Urgent treatment should begin immediately to prevent amputation.
Are you a healthcare professional looking to boost your skills in wound care?
PDUK’s one-day virtual Guide to complex wound care is a professional development course you may well find useful.
Aimed specifically at nurse practitioners, practice nurses, ward-based nurses, community nurses and other allied health professionals, this course is about building your confidence in treating a variety of different wound types. It’s held online too, so perfect for flexible learning that fits around you – plus you’ll gain a handy 7 hours of CPD.
Don’t forget, there’s also our virtual Diabetes basics for HCAs course. Aimed specifically at healthcare assistants and support workers, it’s held over one day and is worth 7 hours of valued CPD. Ideal for those looking for a better understanding of wound care in diabetic patients, all HCA levels and skilled will be considered.
Both coursesare very popular though so make sure to secure your place today!