Diabetics often suffer from chronic wounds and ulcers that do not heal and some of these lead to amputations. Scientists have been puzzled why some diabetic wounds heal and why others lead to amputations and the answer may be in a study published May 8, 2019 in Cell Host and Microbe. The study was carried out by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Results of the research showed that certain bad non-healing strains of Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) S. aureus were found in the diabetic wounds that do not heal. The research also showed that Alcaligenes faecalis another microbe commonly found in diabetic wounds seemed to promote healing and was found in those diabetic wounds that got better.
Diabetes, Wounds and Ulcers
Approximately 10% of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, mainly type 2 diabetes. About 25% of these diabetics will develop a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) that does not heal. Of these that develop DFUs that do not heal within 30 days, about 25% of them will require an amputation. To read more about wound care for treating sores and diabetic foot ulcers, see our blog post from July 4, 2018.
Diabetics May Suffer from Diabetic Neuropathy which Keeps them from Feeling Pain
Diabetics may suffer from diabetic neuropathy which keeps them from feeling pain. As a result, they many not notice a small budding wound. In fact, these can go on and become a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). Normal people will react to pain, see the wound and try to get it healed in its early stages. However, many diabetics are simply not bothered by the pain of an ulcer and some of them can even reach the bone. Diabetics can therefore live for months or even years with a chronic diabetic foot ulcer, since it does not hurt them. When these wounds lead to an amputation, more than 70% of these diabetics will die.
Method of the Study
The researchers gathered samples from the diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) of 46 patients every two weeks over a period of six months or until the wound was healed or amputated.
S. aureus was found in the majority of the wounds, but the high resolution DNA sequencing showed that only certain strains of S. aureus were in the wounds that did not heal. They tested this further and found that the “non-healing” bad strain of S. aureus was more able to cause tissue damage and not respond to antibiotic treatments. The researchers also tested these findings on mice.
On the positive side, the researchers discovered that another common microbe Alcaligenes faecalis found in wounds and ulcers of diabetics was associated with a faster rate of healing.
The researchers hope that their research will result in new and better ways to treat chronically infected wounds and diabetic foot ulcers DFUs) in diabetics.
Complex Wound Care at Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey
If you or your loved one are suffering from diabetes and a chronic wound, the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in scenic Galloway Township, New Jersey offers diabetes monitoring and complex wound care rehabilitation.
Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation is a beautiful 5-star skilled rehab and skilled nursing facility surrounded by 8 wooded acres and landscaped gardens.
If you or your loved one are diabetics, you should make regular checks of your legs and feet for any kinds of sores or wounds. This is so crucial, as pain from some of the worst ulcers is not felt by many diabetics. Keep your feet scrupulously clean. Soaking feet in mineral foot baths may help to keep your feet clean and promote good circulation.