Importance of Wound Care for Diabetics

Posted: Updated: Mar 31, 2016 07:50 PM

WESLACO – One of the many symptoms of diabetes is an inability for cuts and other wounds to heal. Doctors said they’re seeing more patients than ever.

More people are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Those battling the disease are dealing with more than they ever expected.

Arturo Ramirez remembers the day he was diagnosed with diabetes.

“Our insurance company they did testing on us as employees of the non-profit corporation called the Military Highway Water Supply Corporation in 1985. They found that I was diabetic then,” he recalled.

Ramirez helped start the utility more than 30 years ago. He’s assisting Rio Grande Valley residents as they start their own businesses. “We got to teach them how to do their market demand studies, how to do their labor costs,” he said.

Ramirez still struggles to stay on top of the disease. Last month, he lost his second leg to complications of diabetes.

“I couldn’t get rid of the sores that were building at the bottom of my feet to where the illness got into my bone,” he said. “They had to amputate.”

Dr. Noel Olivera treated Ramirez. He is a certified wound specialist physician. His main job is treating difficult non-healing wounds caused by complications from diabetes.

“On any given day, the majority of people that come in for a non-healing ulcer or a non-healing wound or complicated wound will have already been diagnosed with diabetes or, in certain instances, we actually have to break the news to them that they are diabetic,” the doctor said.

Dr. Olivera said non-healing wounds are a common problem for diabetics. “When you talk about wounds with diabetics, and it’s usually uncontrolled diabetics, you’re talking about a combination of arterial and nerve damage involved in the wound.”

He said removing a limb doesn’t have to be an option. “The number one factor to stop amputating limbs is a combination of diet and keeping your sugar under control,” he said.

Dr. Olivera said the key is making a lifestyle change before it’s too late.

As for Ramirez, he’s not going to let diabetes slow him down. He will soon get fitted for prosthetic legs.

“All these problems that I’ve encountered physically, it’s just temporary. There’s a lot of work to be done still in the Valley,” he said. He will remain focused on helping others who need it.

Dr. Olivera said it’s a good idea to keep an eye on any cuts or ulcers they might have. If they notice a wound not healing properly, they should make an appointment to see their doctor.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring our viewers the very latest in diabetes coverage. For more information, visit our Heart of the Valley page.

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