Originally published in The Alamedan.

By Donato J. Stinghen

March 26, 2015

As we observe Wound Care Awareness Week, it’s important to recognize that chronic wounds are a burden that touches 6.5 million people in the United States. Chronic wounds are wounds that do not heal in a timely manner and risk infection up to and including sepsis, amputation or even death.

Awareness is the first step to treatment. So if you or a loved one suffers from a wound that isn’t noticeably healing within four weeks, it is important that you talk to your doctor who may refer you to a wound care specialist.

While wounds arise for a variety of reasons, the most common chronic cases have underlying causes like disease or clinical conditions such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, arterial insufficiency or immobility (the cause of bed sores). The incidence of diabetes has been on the rise in the United States for some time now. The American Diabetes Association estimates that approximately 29.1 million people in the U.S. (about 9.3 percent of the population) have diabetes. More concerning is that it’s estimated that 8.1 million more have undiagnosed diabetes.

No diabetic complication leads to more hospitalizations than foot lesions, a type of chronic wound. Diabetes is also the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States. Nearly five percent of patients with diabetes will develop foot ulcers with one percent requiring an amputation.

Being aware of chronic wounds and seeking proper medical care for them reduces the chances of these dangerous and life-changing complications. Opened in 2012, the Creedon Advanced Wound Center provides our Alameda community with access to proper wound care. We have seen nearly 11,500 patients since then. Right now, an average of more than 400 wounds are healed in each 16 week tracking period that we measure.

We hope that your family and loved ones are healthy. And if not, that you seek out the many resources available to help improve their overall health.

Edited on June 12, 2018.