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Due to taboo or stigma, patients may not openly discuss their leg ulcers with their providers.
Patients with sickle cell disease and leg ulcers face unique challenges, namely the stigma and taboo that may arise from having such presentations.
In addition to the lack of treatments for these symptoms, individuals may experience increasingly worsened quality of life and discomfort. They may even feel less inclined to tell their providers and caretakers about these symptoms.
In an interview with HCPLive®, Caterina Minniti, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, talked about the various challenges faced by these patients and their providers.
In particular, she indicated that—perhaps due to stigma and/or lack of comprehensive knowledge—there has been a long history of an absence of language to discuss this specific type of clinical presentation.
She underscored the need to incorporate meaningful discussions about sickle-cell related leg ulcers between clinicians and their patients.
“If we don’t have the language to communicate this, then we are really very behind in trying to solve the problem,” Minniti said.
She further encouraged clinicians to ask their patients directly about leg ulcers—if they have it and the severity of it.
“Look at the ankle and see if you can find signs of scars and old ulcers,” she said. “Because that is a bad prognostic sign for our patients.”
Providers should then ensure proper referral and a nutritional diet among these patients.