The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it's essential to understand how diabetes can affect various aspects of your health. In this edition of our newsletter, we'll focus on a less-discussed aspect: How diabetes impacts your bones. We'll also share a recent case that highlights the consequences of delayed healing and infection in diabetes patients.
The Hidden Impact on Bones
While diabetes is primarily associated with high blood sugar levels, it can lead to a range of complications that affect your entire body. One often overlooked area is bone health. Diabetes can weaken bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and other issues. Here are a few ways in which diabetes affects bone health:
1. Reduced Bone Density: Diabetes can lead to lower bone mineral density, which makes bones more fragile and prone to fractures.
2. Delayed Healing: High blood sugar levels can slow down the body's natural healing processes. This can be particularly concerning when dealing with wounds, burns, and fractures.
3. Neuropathy: Nerve damage caused by diabetes, known as neuropathy, can lead to a loss of sensation in the limbs. This loss of feeling can make it difficult to detect injuries like cuts, burns, or fractures.
A Case Study: The Fingertip Burn
We recently came across a patient who suffered from a seemingly minor burn on her finger. Due to her diabetes, the wound didn't heal as it should have. This delay in healing allowed an infection to develop, ultimately affecting the bone in her finger. The infection progressed to osteomyelitis, a severe bone infection, which led to the tip of her finger bone being eaten away. The only viable treatment left was amputation, including neuroctomies to treat the osteomyelitis.
How to Promote Healing in Diabetes Patients
Here are some essential tips to help promote the healing of burns, cuts, and fractures in diabetes patients:
1. Blood Sugar Control: Ensure your blood sugar levels are well-managed. Consistently high levels can hinder the healing process.
2. Wound Care: Clean and dress wounds properly to reduce the risk of infection. Seek medical attention for any injuries, no matter how minor they may seem.
3. Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your diabetes and its impact on your overall health.
4. Foot and Skin Care: Pay extra attention to your feet and skin. Diabetes patients are prone to foot ulcers, so inspect your feet daily and keep them clean and dry.
5. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet can help improve bone health. Ensure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
6. Exercise: Engage in regular weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your bones.
Remember, knowledge is your greatest ally in managing diabetes effectively. By staying informed and proactive, you can help protect your overall health, including your bone health.
Wishing you a healthy and informed Diabetes Awareness Month!