Healing Wounds and Avoiding Amputation
This month, during Wound Healing Awareness Month, we bring attention to chronic, non-healing wounds throughout the body. There are many reasons why wounds don’t heal but the primary reason is due to the lack of blood circulating or not reaching the afflicted areas. The good news is that healing wounds with improved healing rates is possible and so are your chances of avoiding amputation if your condition is addressed and treated in a timely manner.
Let’s learn more about poor circulation, why it happens and what is does to the body. People with poor circulation – for instance, as a result of peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) – have arteries that are narrowed by plaque buildup which obstructs normal blood flow. Healthy arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to flow freely throughout the body providing oxygen, glucose and other necessary nutrients.
Here are some causes and risk factors of poor circulation that prevent the healing process in wounds.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Family history of vascular problems.
When you have one or more of these factors you increase your risk of having plaque, which is a sticky substance made up of fat and cholesterol that builds up in the arteries. This buildup of plaque causes the passageway in the arteries to become narrow which in turn limits the blood flow to your extremities. If left untreated, this will cause non-healing sores, wounds, foot ulcers or infections which can lead to amputations, heart attack or stroke.
Early detection is key to avoid serious complications, so keep an eye out for the following symptoms, especially in the lower extremities such as legs and feet:
- Non-healing sores
- Chronic wounds
- Foot ulcers
The good news is if the root cause of poor circulation is treated quickly, the symptoms can be reversed.
The first step is to see your doctor immediately if you have any of the risk factors or symptoms listed above. A simple, painless and noninvasive test called a duplex ultrasound can determine if you have poor circulation and the severity of the condition.
Based on the severity of your condition, treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive cath lab procedures such as angioplasty or stenting, which are done in a PVA office, or open bypass surgery.
At PVA, we are blood circulation experts. Each and every day, we focus our knowledge and expertise on restoring circulation throughout the body which can end up healing wounds and help our patients avoid amputation. Vascular surgeons are the only physicians treating blood circulation problems today who can perform all treatment options available include medical management, minimally invasive procedure and open surgical repair including bypass.
Only when you see a vascular expert who offers all treatment options can you be assured of receiving the care that is most appropriate to ensure blood flow is sufficient to heal existing wounds and prevent further wounds from developing.
To make an appointment call 210.237.4444.