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Peripheral vascular disease refers to any “disease or disorder of the circulatory system that takes blood to the brain and heart” (Siedlecki, 2009, p. 27). Additionally, the term peripheral vascular disease may refer to all kinds of complications that affect blood vessels. The term is synonymous to the peripheral arterial disease. Thus, this paper will use the terms peripheral vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease interchangeably. The disease comes as a result of the blood vessels becoming congested. Peripheral arterial disease is prevalent among the African American women. Medical professionals claim that African American women are at high risk of contracting peripheral vascular disease because they exhibit most conditions that increase the risk of the illness (Siedlecki, 2009). Peripheral vascular disease is prevalent among African American women in Baltimore Maryland.
The rationale for selecting this topic is to identify the challenges that women and health professional encounter in the fight against the illness. Besides, the paper will discuss the measures that nursing practitioners can take to help those suffering from the scourge. A majority of people that suffer from peripheral arterial disease tend to assume that it a problem that comes as a result of age. Thus, this topic will act as a revelation for women who believe that they are suffering from age-related health problems. It will enlighten the women on the signs they need to observe and take necessary measures.
Statement Concerning Peripheral Vascular Disease
According to Tierney, Fennessy and Hayes (2009), peripheral vascular disease comes as a result of the accumulation of fatty materials in the blood vessels known as atherosclerosis. Doctors use the terms “hardening of the arteries and arteriosclerosis to refer to this condition” (Tierney et al., 2009, p. 1263). Mostly, atherosclerosis affects the arteries that take blood to the brain and heart. Nevertheless, the condition also affects the arteries that supply blood to the arms or kidney. The situation leads to narrowing of the arteries, therefore making it hard for the body organs to receive adequate blood.
Tierney et al. (2009) claim that patients that suffer from atherosclerosis exhibit different symptoms. The symptoms include cold feet, gangrene, pain, stroke, and bluish discoloration (Tierney et al., 2009). A majority of the African American women that suffer from peripheral vascular disease do not show the symptoms. On the other hand, the women that exhibit the symptoms do not share them with their physicians. According to Tierney et al. (2009), most African American women associate the peripheral arterial disease with old age. They believe that doctors can do nothing to alleviate this condition. As a result, they do not see the need to inform the health care providers about the condition.
According to Tierney et al. (2009), the African American women are at a high risk of contracting peripheral arterial disease due to their lifestyle. In Baltimore Maryland, many African American women suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions expose them to the danger of contracting the peripheral arterial disease. Besides, many African American women are smokers. Therefore, they are vulnerable to suffering from the peripheral vascular disease. The ultimate way to prevent the women from contracting the peripheral vascular disease is to encourage them to change their lifestyle. The women need to desist from smoking. Further, they need to manage their body weight and blood sugar by engaging in physical exercises on a daily basis. Tierney et al. (2009) maintain that it is important for women to ensure that they do not eat food that contain fats.
Prevalence of Peripheral Vascular Disease
Collins, Petersen, Suarez-Almazor, and Ashton (2010) hold that peripheral vascular disease “disproportionately affects African Americans as compared to non-Hispanic Whites” (p. 1470). In a study of 2,174 women aged 40 years and above, it was found that African Americans “were 2.8 times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to screen positive for peripheral vascular disease” (Collins et al., 2010, p. 1473). A report by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey concluded that African American women are at a higher risk of contracting the peripheral arterial disease than the Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Collins et al., (2010) argue that the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease increases with age. At least 20% of the African American women aged over 65 years suffer from the peripheral vascular disease. The number is expected to increase in the future due to changes in lifestyle.
Agencies that fight Peripheral Vascular Disease
Currently, numerous organizations help in the fight against peripheral vascular disease and other chronic illnesses. One of the agencies that facilitate the fight against peripheral arterial disease is the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The organization facilitates the detection, prevention and treatment of risk factors. Allison et al. (2011) argue that the only way to manage the peripheral vascular disease is by detecting its risk factors and addressing them in advance. Center for Disease Control understands the importance of dealing with the risk factors of peripheral vascular disease. The agency helps to formulate and implement policies for controlling peripheral vascular disease and other chronic illnesses. In the United States, there is a Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) whose objective is to create public awareness of the peripheral vascular disease. Most Americans do not understand the signs and symptoms of the illness (Allison et al., 2011). As a result, VDF helps to sensitize the public on how to identify the signs of peripheral arterial disease and the importance of early treatment.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has established a Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition whose primary objective is to create awareness of the peripheral vascular disease. The coalition also helps to enhance detection of patients suffering from the peripheral arterial disease. One reason many African American women in Baltimore Maryland suffer from peripheral vascular disease is a lack of screening services (Allison et al., 2011). The Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition helps to establish screening protocol for individuals that are at a high risk of contracting the illness. Additionally, the coalition helps to enhance treatment rates among women found to exhibit symptoms of the peripheral vascular disease.
Barriers to Dealing with Peripheral Vascular Disease
According to Hiatt (2010), the primary barrier to handling peripheral vascular disease is the inability to recognition the illness. Most Americans do not recognize the symptoms of the peripheral vascular disease. Therefore, they are unlikely to visit health facilities in advance. Indeed, a majority of the peripheral arterial disease cases are detected rate. Patients visit the hospital after the pain persists or when they realize that their health condition is worsening. According to Hiatt (2010), many Americans believe that peripheral vascular disease affects the old people. Thus, the Americans suppose that it is of no use visiting a health facility.
Another factor that hinders the treatment of peripheral vascular disease is that most African American women and citizens, in general, do not understand the effects of the illness. Hence, many patients assume that the symptoms will subside with time. In the end, they run to the hospital when they are in a critical condition. Hiatt (2010) identifies the “gross underuse of safe, effective, and widely available therapies as another key impediment to treatment of peripheral vascular disease” (p. 1610). Even though a majority of the heath facilities have secure and efficient procedures for treating peripheral arterial disease, most patients do not utilize them because of lack of knowledge.
According to Ostchega, Paulose-Ram, Dillon, GU, and Hughes (2010), peripheral vascular disease is a persistent, progressive illness. The disease typically comes in the form of lower-limb ischemia. Inability to cope with ordinary activities, pain, and intensified wound contamination threats are some of the signs that characterize the peripheral vascular disease. Patients suffering from the peripheral arterial disease are at a high risk of contracting cardiovascular and cerebrovascular illnesses. According to Allison et al. (2011), the peripheral vascular disease affects at least 20% of men and women who are over 50 years old.
The disease can also affect young people. However, its prevalence increases with age. In the United States, one in every 20 people who are over 50 years old suffers from the peripheral vascular disease. Ostchega et al. (2010) argue that a limited number of people with peripheral vascular disease exhibit its symptoms. Ostchega et al. (2010) allege, “Only about 10% of persons with the peripheral vascular disease have typical intermittent claudication” (p. 584). Individuals that are over 50 years old and have high cholesterol levels are at a risk of contracting the peripheral vascular disease. Besides, African Americans and smokers are susceptible to contracting the disease.
According to Ostchega et al. (2010), the peripheral vascular disease has psychological, physiological and sociological impacts on a patient. A person suffering from peripheral vascular disease leads a complicated social life. One is unable to find and retain friends due to physical illness. Besides, some patients feel like they have become a yoke to their relatives. A person suffering from peripheral arterial disease experiences a lot of pain. Therefore, it is hard for the person to engage in economic activities. In some cases, the illness results in changes in family roles. For instance, if a husband suffers from the disease, the wife is forced to bear the responsibility of providing for the family.
Lack of adequate knowledge to detect peripheral vascular disease in advance makes the illness a major challenge to African American women in Baltimore Maryland. The nurse practitioners have the duty to ensure that individuals suffering from peripheral arterial disease receive proper treatment. Apart from taking care of patients suffering from peripheral vascular disease, the nurses have the responsibility to sensitize the public on the illness. Besides, nurses have the responsibility to educate the public about the disease to avoid chances of patients associating it with age. The nurses have the duty to start screening processes to protect people who are at a high risk of contracting the peripheral vascular disease. The African American women should be encouraged to change their lifestyle to avoid contracting the disease. Besides, they should be encouraged to go for a regular medical check-up to ensure that their blood sugar is balanced. Nurses should adopt a multi-agency approach in the effort to care for persons suffering from the peripheral vascular disease. They should come up with a strategy that helps patients in their environment. Nurses should create a service that addresses the needs of a patient both in the hospital and at home.
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Collins, T., Petersen, J., Suarez-Almazor, M., & Ashton, C. (2010). The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in a racially diverse population. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163(12), 1469–1474.
Hiatt, W. (2010). Medical treatment of peripheral arterial disease and claudication. The New England Journal of Medicine, 344(1), 1608-1621.
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