It’s been over 20 years since I first began treating diabetic patients with sores on their feet and legs. So much has changed since then. We have learned a tremendous amount about the disease process, patients and interventions.

The new landscape

One of the most important changes has been in patient advocacy. When I started there were few resources or organizations that empowered diabetics. Now there are advocacy groups, such as Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC), which provide support for patients, caregivers and clinical professionals. Organizations and academic hospitals now provide certifications and special training programs for the medical industry.

Seeking out clinicians that have special wound care training allows patients to have more confidence in their care. Research has also come a long way, and we are now understanding that there are differences at the molecular and genetic levels that make wound healing more complicated and challenging in diabetic patients.

“The wound care community has developed guidelines for patients, as well as clinicians, that can help prevent wounds and their serious outcomes.”

Connecting with providers

These advances in treatment make it all the more necessary that diabetics find a trained professional to treat their wounds when one does occur. However, not only is it important to see the appropriate provider once you discover a wound, but regular screening by medical professionals can prevent infections, hospitalizations, amputations and even extend a patient’s life.

The wound care community has developed guidelines for patients, as well as clinicians, that can help prevent wounds and their serious outcomes. The American Diabetes Association, as well as the AAWC, has these guidelines and more available online.

I’ve dedicated a good deal of my professional life to research and I can say that the new drugs that are in development now were beyond imagination when I began 20 years ago. There’s a lot of hope and exciting science in the years ahead.