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African Americans May Be at Increased Risk for Chronic Wounds


02.27.2013

Delaware’s diabetes prevalence is higher than the national average. 9.7% of adults report that they have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the disease is more common among the African American population in our state.

Diabetes has several side-effects that can be very serious for patients with wounds.

In honor of Black History Month, Bayhealth’s Wound Care Center is sharing information to help reduce the risk of underlying conditions that may worsen chronic wounds in our African American patients

People with diabetes cannot process glucose, or sugar, properly. Diabetes patients may experience a range of disease-related side-effects. Nerve damage may cause a patient not to feel a cut or wound until it has grown infected.

Diabetes can weaken the immune system, and wounds can become infected more easily. Narrow arteries may restrict blood flow to the legs, preventing a wound from healing.

“Patients do not have to live with serious wounds,” said Julie Willey, RN, Clinical Coordinator of the Wound Care Center. “We offer advanced wound care technologies and a collaborative approach to treat underlying conditions such as edema or diabetes.”

While not every paper-cut or scrape means a trip to the Emergency Department, Willey encourages people to take precautions to prevent wounds and also seek medical care for skin irritations or redness. Performing daily foot inspections is a good habit to start.

Exercise and physical activity can lead to better circulation, and improving the flow of oxygen to wounds is an important factor in healing.

Exercise also can combat the negative consequences of carrying extra weight. Extra pounds can worsen conditions that hinder wound healing. 72% of African Americans in Delaware are obese.

For more information on the treatment of chronic or infected wounds, contact the Bayhealth Wound Care Center at 302-744-7500.

 



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