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Guidelines for Diagnosing & Treating Diabetic Foot Infections

Guidelines for Diagnosing & Treating Diabetic Foot Infections

As the incidence of diabetes has steadily increased over the last several decades throughout the United States, diabetic foot infections have also become increasingly common. As many as one in four people with diabetes will have a foot ulcer in their lifetime, and these wounds can easily become infected. If left unchecked, they can spread and may ultimately require amputation of the toe, foot, or part of the leg. Nearly 80% of all nontraumatic amputations occur in people with diabetes, 85% of which begin with a foot ulcer. “Lower extremity amputation severely affects quality of life in people with diabetes because it reduces independence and mobility,” says Warren S. Joseph, DPM, FIDSA. “Furthermore, about 50% of patients who have foot amputations die within 5 years, which ranks as a worse mortality rate than for most cancers.” However, about half of lower extremity amputations that are not caused by trauma can be prevented through proper care of foot infections. Preventing amputations is vital. In most cases, these infections can be prevented or cured when properly managed. Recommendations for Diabetic Foot Infections In a 2012 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) published a clinical practice guideline for diagnosing and treating diabetic foot infections. The guideline addresses 10 common questions with evidencebased answers that experts have determined are most likely to help healthcare providers treating these infections. The guideline is a revision and update of IDSA’s 2004 recommendations for managing diabetic foot infections. With regard to diagnosis, the guideline recommends that infections in foot wounds be defined clinically by the presence of inflammation or purulence, and...
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