An alarming 33% of Americans currently suffer from cardiovascular disease. Throughout heart month in February, FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbarics, a member of the Healogics network, is working to spread awareness about how cardiovascular diseases can affect the wound healing process.
Chronic wounds affect approximately 6.7 million people in the United States and, if left untreated, an unhealed wound on the foot or leg can lead to a diminished quality of life and possible amputation. As many as 82% of leg amputations are due to poor circulation of the affected limb.
David Strom, M.D.
Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, strokes, arrhythmia, vascular disease and other issues with the heart and vessels can cause blockages that obstruct the flow of blood needed for proper wound healing. Differentiating between arterial and venous ulcers may be challenging, but a correct diagnosis can result in optimal treatment options.
Arterial ulcers develop as the result of damage to the arteries due to lack of blood flow to tissue. Venous ulcers develop from damage to the veins caused by an insufficient return of blood back to the heart. Careful vascular assessment is key when a patient presents with a lower extremity ulcer as arterial disease is generally contraindicative to compression therapy, the cornerstone of venous ulcer management.
“Our heart works beat by beat, 24 hours a day and taking care of this important muscle in your body is critical,” says David Strom, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon and medical director of FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbarics. “Patients should take actions to prevent conditions that may affect the health of their heart and proper wound healing.”
FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbarics offers the following tips to live a heart-healthy life:
- Live an active lifestyle with 30 minutes of exercise on most
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco of any kind as it is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart
- Eat a diet that is heart healthy. This includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other low-fat sources of
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. All of these chronic conditions can lead to heart
- Ensure you get quality sleep by making it a priority in your life. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each
- Manage your stress in a healthy way with positive self-talk, using stress stoppers, doing things you enjoy and relaxing on a regular
- See your health care provider for regular screenings. This includes blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes
- Take off your socks at your next checkup and speak up about any problems with your legs or feet.
If you or a loved one is living with a wound and cardiovascular disease, contact one of the FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbarics clinics located in Pinehurst, Rockingham and Raeford.