Heart Health, One among the Factors in Wound Healing

Heart Health FactorsWounds can present a daily challenge and affect the quality of life. For a wound to heal successfully, all four phases (hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling) must occur in the proper sequence and time frame. Several intrinsic or extrinsic factors may result in slow wound healing. It is a rarely known fact that heart health is one of the most important factors that can affect wound healing. Heart diseases and hypertension will result in reduced blood supply to the wound bed.

Slow healing of wounds is a symptom of peripheral arterial disease that occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the legs and feet is blocked or decreased. Coronary artery disease and other issues with the heart and vessels can cause obstructions that hinder the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrition to the wound. Also, it has been reported that diabetes and stroke can impair wound healing and are risk factors for further wounding.

February is considered as American Heart Month, and people should understand how their heart can affect their wounds. The heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood through the circulatory system to all body tissues. Patients with cardiac disease have poor pump function. Cardiac disease can involve dysfunction of the coronary arteries, valves, or the electrical conduction system. Any dysfunction of the cardiac system creates significant difficulties related to wound healing. Specific cardiac diseases that affect patients with wounds include coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.

To avoid these conditions, it is important to keep your heart healthy.Tips to maintain a healthy heart include:

  • Follow a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other low-fat sources of protein
  • An active lifestyle with 30 minutes of exercise on most days
  • Make sure you get quality sleep
  • See your primary care provider for regular screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes)
  • Avoid hydrogenated fats and use liquid vegetable oils such as canola, olive or soybean oil
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco of any kind
  • Healthy weight is crucial, as obesity can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, resulting in heart disease.
  • Stress management plays a key role. Benefit from relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and walking are proven methods to keep calm.

Successful treatment of difficult wounds requires assessment of the entire patient and not just the wound. Make sure that the assessment includes: size and depth of wound, the appearance of the wound surface-is it necrotic or viable, amount and characteristics of wound exudate, and status of the periwound tissues (pigmented, scarred, atrophic, cellulitic). Choosing the right treatment will depend on the outcome of the assessment. Accurate documentation of these assessment details is a critical part of a complete medical record. Documentation should also include nursing diagnosis, outcome identification, and planning care to nursing interventions and evaluation. Most hospitals now use advanced wound EMRs that allow to store and access the patient’s history, wound assessment details and other information much faster.