New studies have shown that a high percentage of American adults are obese. More than one-third of the population has elevated levels of glucose (sugar), which leads to reduced blood circulation. It makes it difficult for the blood to reach areas of the skin that needs to recover from wounds. Most overweight patients do not feel comfortable when having to visit the doctor, a clinic or health professional, leaving wounds or injuries that need medical care not being treated in a timely fashion or adequately.
Why do obese patients commonly delay preventive care visits to the doctor?
Doctors’ visits can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for obese patients because health facilities usually don’t have the proper equipment for them. Consider the following:
- Not many scales can measure over 300 pounds.
- There are no disposable medical examination gowns that can fit their size.
- Needles aren’t long enough for blood-drawing.
- Speculums often don’t fit.
- Blood pressure cuffs are too small and pop off from the patient’s arm.
- They don’t have proper comfortable examination tables or chairs.
- Doctors tend to associate any wound or injury to their weight.
- They have been disrespected by healthcare providers or physicians before.
- Some healthcare providers don’t understand the particular needs of an obese patient.
And for those reasons, a high percentage of obese patients delay wound and preventive care visits to doctors.
What are the wound risk factors for obese patients?
Skin tissue and wounds in obese patients take longer to heal due to the little or poor blood circulation in their body (high glucose levels in their blood) and because they tend to avoid doctor visits for routine and prophylactic examinations.
With obesity being a risk factor in these patients, they also have a higher chance of sustaining chronic wounds like:
- Skin irritation
- Ulcer formations (venous ulceration)
- Surgical wound area infections
Wound care is a serious matter for any patient, especially those with chronic wounds so it is imperative and necessary to visit the doctor regularly.
What critical regular tests and examinations do obese patients need?
With the risks associated with obese patients, they need to receive routine tests and examinations such as:
- Blood pressure tests
- Blood test (laboratory analysis)
- Electrocardiogram or any other cardiology exam suggested by your doctor
- Papanicolaou test (Pap smear)
- Pelvic, prostate, and breast examinations
What do healthcare facilities need to do to motivate obese patients to visit regularly?
- Accommodate their facilities with proper medical equipment.
- Treat patients with respect and be discrete when requesting appropriate medical. material for them while understanding obese patients’ particular needs.
- Provide separate examination rooms for their specific requirements.
- Reinforce healthy behavior.