Know Better, Do Better: Adopting Healthy Lifestyles for Amputation Prevention
Black Americans are twice as likely to develop pulmonary artery disease (PAD) – a leading cause of lower limb amputation – as any other race. The sky-high amputation rates in African American communities continue to soar, largely because these populations are underserved and lack access to quality wound care. What’s more, there’s not enough being done to sensitize Black and African American populations to the benefits of healthy lifestyles. Still, raising awareness on the detrimental effect of unhealthy lifestyles remains the cornerstone of the strategy to overcome the lower limb amputation scourge among Black and African American populations.
Healthy Living Through Diet
Healthy eating equals healthy living. The long-term dietary goal should be to maintain a healthy weight. Food historian, Adrian Miller, encourages moderation as one sure way to combat unhealthy diets among Blacks. Further, he advises reserving certain foods only for celebrations and not as a daily meal.
Eat a healthy diet of fruits, whole grains, lean meats, leafy vegetables, and fibers. Fibers help slow the absorption of sugar and lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. They are also more filling and energy-rich. Fiber-rich foods interfere with the absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol aiding in the management of blood pressure.
Avoid sugar-sweetened juice and soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages are mostly high in calories with little to no nutrition value. PAD patients should avoid these types of drinks as they risk limb loss. The exception is people with low blood sugar levels. In such a case, these beverages are effective treatments for quickly raising blood sugar levels.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Physical activity helps lower sugar levels and boost sensitivity to insulin. It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. Diabetes and PAD patients should regularly check blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise, especially if taking insulin or medications to lower blood sugar. A physician can customize the most suitable exercise plan.
Obesity increases the risk of PAD. Obese patients are 3-5 times more likely to develop limb ischemia – a severe complication of PAD – which if not managed leads to lower limb amputation. Advocating for proper weight management helps lower the amputation rate among African Americans. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with prediabetes lose at least 7% to 10% of their body weight to prevent disease progression. More weight loss will translate into even greater benefits.
Smokers are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with PAD. While the disease can affect anyone, a study found that of 1,272 patients with PAD, 90% were either current or former smokers. If the smoking habit persists this disease slowly starves the toes, feet, and legs of oxygen which can lead to gangrene and limb amputation in severe cases.
The only option for amputation prevention is to quit smoking. Nicotine found in cigarettes raises blood pressure and is a vasoconstrictor – makes the arteries smaller. Pumping blood through the constricted arteries becomes harder and the body, in turn, releases stores of fat and cholesterol into the blood.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol makes the blood sugar either too high or too low. The liver is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. This process can be interfered with if the liver is busy metabolizing alcohol.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women of any age and men over 65 years old and two drinks a day for men under 65. One drink equals a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Alcoholic beverages like dry wine and light beers have fewer calories and carbohydrates than other drinks. A good practice is including calories from an alcoholic drink in the daily calorie count.
Stress has been linked to hypertension and high blood sugar levels. When stressed, the insulin levels fall, glucagon and adrenaline levels increase and more glucose is released from the liver. Cortisol levels also increase, making the body tissues less sensitive to insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels - a risk factor for limb loss.
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or hobbies often help relieve stress. Socialization reduces anxiety, stress, and improves mental functioning. Working with a psychologist or clinical social worker aids in identifying stressors or learning coping skills.
Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits
It’s recommended to sleep 7-8 hours every night for healthy living and keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. Regular checkups with the primary care physician for wound care and examination. Medications such as insulin should be taken regularly as directed by a doctor to manage diseases that are risk factors for lower limb amputation.
The Role of Technology in Amputation Prevention
The Wound Docs is taking the front row in the amputation prevention battle by bringing together Black healthcare professionals such as podiatrists, vascular surgeons, and wound care specialists throughout the nation. The Wound Docs is also leveraging the power of advanced technologies such as AI and advanced biologics (skin substitutes) to significantly improve patient outcomes in wound care for African Americans.
Exercise Routines for Health and Fitness: Moderate and High-intensity Workouts
There are different types of exercises; you get better results when you choose a combination of activities that cater to your needs. Research shows that you can gain tremendous benefits by doing a mix of four types of exercise: endurance activities, strength training.
Foam Dressings: Benefits And Applications
Non-adhesive foam dressings require the use of an additional secondary dressing to be secured in position. In general, thin foam dressings have an adhesive wound contact layer.
Hydrogel Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
Hydrogel wound dressings belong to the class of modern wound dressings that actively stimulate the wound healing process. They are composed of synthetic polymers with a high water content formed in the shape of sheets, amorphous gels, and foams.
Alginate Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
In the United States, approximately 6 million people are affected by chronic wounds. The number is only expected to increase with the rise in the elderly population. Wound dressings form an essential component of wound care.
How Obesity and Overweight Affects Wound Healing
Obesity and excessive weight are conditions that continue to disproportionately affect Black and African American people in the United States.
Understanding and Tackling Hypertension in African American Communities
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is more prevalent in African American communities than in other racial groups in the United States. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicated that about 5 in 10 non-Hispanic Black adults are hypertensive.
Understanding the Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores or decubitus ulcers, are areas of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They result from unrelieved pressure on the skin, friction, shear, or a combination of these.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Amputation Prevention
With the various technological advancements, amputation prevention through proper wound care is an attractive area for Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2002, the whole world was in awe when Google brain, an Artificial Intelligence research team, could find a cat in a YouTube video.
The Role of Advanced Biologics (Skin Substitutes) in Wound Healing
For a long time now, limb amputation has affected the mobility of African Americans living with chronic diseases. Worse still, studies have shown that limb amputation among diabetes
Know Better, Do Better: Adopting Healthy Lifestyles for Amputation Prevention
Black Americans are twice as likely to develop pulmonary artery disease (PAD) – a leading cause of lower limb amputation – as any other race.
Tackling the Education Gap: Encouraging Medical Careers Among Black Students
Black and African American doctors make up 5% of all active physicians in the country – a mere 45,534 healthcare professionals. With the African American population at about 46.9 million, it is clear why Black communities are underserved.
The Amputation Epidemic in Black America: What Everyone Needs to Know
Peer-reviewed studies have revealed that black patients are three times more likely to lose limbs than the national average. In black populated areas with little or no access to quality healthcare...
Why Are Black People Losing Limbs More Often?
Now more than ever, Blacks and African Americans are losing lower extremity limbs. In recent years, there has been a stark difference in the amputation rates in Black and white communities.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Its Impact On Wound Care
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the narrowing of the arteries in the arms, legs, and internal organs. It’s often caused by atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fat and cholesterol – called plaque – in the arteries.
Promoting Physical Exercise and Mobility in African American Communities
Inadequate physical inactivity has increasingly been recognized as a leading cause of mobility problems and early mortality in the world.
A Spotlight on Healthcare Disparities in African American Communities
Even with promising interventions such as the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare equality in the U.S. seems like a distant goal. African Americans are still more likely to be burdened with chronic diseases
Avenues for Promoting Health Awareness in African Communities
Disparities in healthcare remain a serious problem in African American communities. The history of slavery and other social determinants like systemic racism and access to healthy foods undoubtedly underlie the inexcusably poor state of African American health.
The State of Black Health in America
Over 150 years from the abolishment of slavery, healthcare in America is stilled marred by systemic racial discrimination and inequality. According to the CDC, 20.2 percent of black American adults are living in fair or poor health. This is a visibly higher population compared to white, non-Hispanic (14.1 percent).
Black Nutrition: Are You Eating The Right Diet?
Blacks have dietary preferences born from cultural influence. A study conducted on 7,000 men and women over 45 years living across the U.S. found that Black participants were more likely to eat a diet comprising highly processed foods compared to their White counterparts. Further, 46% of Blacks and 33% of Whites developed hypertension, with diet being the reason for much of the disparity.
Debridement: A Critical Component of Wound Treatment
Debridement is a part of the standard DIME technique for wound bed preparation in chronic wounds.
What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) aims to facilitate wound healing by modifying the pressure over a wound surface.
The Benefits of Telemedicine To Wound Care
Telemedicine is particularly beneficial in long-term care facilities where a significant number of Americans living with chronic conditions such as non-healing wounds reside.
Why are Some Wounds Slow To Heal?
Chronic slow-healing wounds are those that fail to progress through a timely and predictable sequence of repair.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
Chronic non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers and venous insufficiency ulcers remain in the inflammatory state despite adequate management, prolonging wound healing, and adversely affecting the quality of life of patients.
Diagnosis and Management of Pressure Ulcers
Leading research estimates a prevalence of up to 27% of pressure ulcers in patients living at long-term care facilities. Elderly patients (above 70 years of age), obese patients, patients with limited mobility, and those with underlying medical conditions e.g., peripheral arterial disease, and multiple sclerosis are the most at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
Compression Therapy for Wound Management
For patients living with chronic wounds such as venous ulcers, compression therapy can help to ease symptoms and aid wound healing.
Democratizing Wound Care in Hospice Care Facilities
Hospice care facilities provide care for the terminally ill, including patients battling late-stage cancer, heart disease, and kidney failure, as well as those living with chronic non-healing wounds.
Dealing With Diabetic Foot Ulcers During The Pandemic
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What Clinicians Need To Know About Wound Care Dressings
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