This February we are focusing on cardiovascular health at the Wound & Hyperbaric Healing Center at Windom Area Health.

Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease? Unfortunately cardiovascular disease effects more than just the heart, it follows the whole body system.

At the Wound & Hyperbaric Healing Center, we see cardiovascular disease manifest as PAD or peripheral arterial disease. PAD means the blood flow to the legs and feet is impaired. This could be caused by cholesterol build-up, calcification, or a blood clot in the arteries. Some people don’t have any symptoms, and others have pain in their legs, especially with walking. Sometimes the first symptom is a small wound that is painful and does not heal. If a wound doesn’t receive oxygen and nutrition from the blood, it can’t grow new tissue. We often use the analogy corn doesn’t grow when it doesn’t rain! The same is true for wounds. Until blood flow is restored, the wound can’t heal.

PAD contributes to 82% of amputations in the US. At the Wound & Hyperbaric Healing Center, our goal is to save limbs and prevent amputation. Every patient we see who has a wound below their waist undergoes a simple test called an ABI. This test measures the difference in the blood flow between the arm and the leg. If there is higher blood flow in the arm, we know there is a blockage somewhere downstream. We are fortunate to partner with Sanford Vascular Associates for timely referral and intervention of vascular issues.

The next time you pass a cornfield (even under the snow), remember to focus on your cardiovascular health. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you have symptoms of PAD and keep your legs and heart healthy!

Blog Post Written By: Naomi Bach, CNP, CWOCN – Wound & Hyperbaric Healing Center at Windom Area Health

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