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HISPANICS AT GREATER RISK FOR CHRONIC WOUNDS

St. Rose Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Centers offer preventative tips

More than 6.5 million people across the nation are fighting chronic wounds, and research has shown that Hispanics and Latinos living with the condition usually have other health conditions that put them at a greater risk than the general population.

At their worst, chronic wounds can lead to amputation, and more than 80 percent of all amputations performed in the nation are linked to underlying conditions related to constricted blood vessels which can be attributed to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and other high risk factors – all of which affect Hispanics disproportionately.

“Researchers at The Ohio State University recently presented early findings of a study that found differences in the success of patient education in regard to race and ethnicity which suggests that, in addition to Hispanics being at a greater risk for a number illnesses, there is a lack of effective communication educating them about the dangers they face and steps they can take to prevent or manage illness,” said NHC chief clinical officer Katherine J. Rowland; with National Healing Corporation which is an academic partner with the university.

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Centers, National Healing managed centers, outline steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of underlying conditions for chronic wounds:

Quit smoking: One in four Hispanics/Latinos is a smoker. Smoking can lead to hardening of the arteries and higher glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood.

Be on guard against diabetes: Sixty percent of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations in the U.S. are diabetes-related, and Hispanics/Latinos are twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. One study showed that people at high risk of developing diabetes who made simple lifestyle choices lowered their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by a staggering 58 percent and an even more impressive 71 percent in people age 60 and older.

Lose weight: Excess weight contributes to many healthcare conditions that can prevent wound healing.  Among Hispanic/Latinos age 18 years or older, 69 percent are overweight and, of those people, 27 percent are obese.

Get moving: Among Hispanic/Latinos, only one in four is regularly active. Improving the flow of oxygen to wounds is an important factor in healing and increasing physical activity may lead to improved circulation.

Control your blood pressure: Among Mexican Americans, age 20 and older, 30 percent of women and 23 percent of men have high blood pressure.

Get checked for vascular disease: A study comparing treatment and recovery in three common vascular surgical procedures among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics found that Hispanics had more advanced cases of the disease when seeking treatment, experienced worse outcomes in some cases and had longer recovery times.

Don’t delay: Seek treatment if a wound has not healed in 30 days or shows signs of infection such as increased pain, redness or swelling, foul wound odor or a change in color or amount of drainage from the wound.

For more information on the treatment of chronic or infected wounds, contact St. Rose Dominican Hospitals’ Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Centers at the Rose de Lima (702.616.4870) or San Martín (702.492.8281) Campuses.

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