A Mat to Reduce Diabetic Foot Ulcer Risks? Yes, Please!

Can a smart mat detect developing diabetic foot ulcer?

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Foot wounds and ulcers in Type 2 diabetics are very common, and they are also very dangerous. Experts state about 15% to 27% of diabetic patients have a high lifetime risk of developing foot ulcers, with a prevalence of about 4% to 10%.

While most foot ulcers heal with proper care and management, about 10% to 15% of those foot ulcers will remain chronic and active. The experts also state that 5% to 24% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers will ultimately undergo amputation to preserve the limb and save their lives.

Although foot ulcers can be controlled through proper wound care and management as well as surgery and amputation, they still have a lower survival rate compared to diabetic patients who have never had any foot ulcers.

These stats may seem depressing, especially if the foot ulcer has become chronic and infected. But the best way to reduce these risks is proper lifestyle choices as well as prevention. Unfortunately, preventing diabetic foot ulcers from developing can be quite challenging. You have to do strict nightly checks of your feet, and the moment a wound appears, you have to notify your doctor immediately.

A Mat to Combat Diabetic Foot Ulcers

There is an ongoing clinical study right now that can help prevent the development of diabetic foot ulcers by using a smart mat. This “smart mat” aims to detect diabetic foot ulcers that are just developing long before they present detectable physical signs and symptoms. The mat was effective and was able to detect about 97% of the developing foot ulcers at least five weeks before they begin showing physical signs and symptoms.




How the Smart Mat Works

The procedure is quick, painless, and effortless. All the patient has to do is to stand on the mat for about 20 seconds. The mat will then assess the temperature of the patient’s foot. Using thermal imaging, it will outline the thermal map of the patient’s foot, showing the areas where the diabetic foot ulcers may develop.

The rationale behind thermal mapping is very simple, really. Before any foot ulcers develop, there should be inflammation. Because there is inflammation, there will also be an increase in the area’s skin temperature. Identifying these temperature changes will tell you if you are at risk of developing foot ulcers or if one is already developing in your foot. Through early detection, prompt medical intervention may then be given to prevent its development or slow down its progression.

They all say prevention is better than cure. When it comes to diabetic foot ulcers, a device like this can help save a life.

References

Management of Diabetic Foot Ulcers. URL Link. Accessed: August 3, 2017.

Feasibility and Efficacy of a Smart Mat Technology to Predict Development of Diabetic Plantar Ulcers. URL Link. Accessed: August 3, 2017.