Nearly everyone would have experienced a wound at some point in their life. It can be accidental for example motor vehicle accidents, burns, abrasions, paper cuts, skin tears. For some people surgical wounds as an incision. Wounds that occur due to underlying disease such as diabetic and vascular ulcers. Some skin conditions may also develop into a wound for example eczema or psoriasis.
Basically wounds can be classified in a number of ways:
•Open and Closed
Open wounds are wounds with exposed underlying tissue, open to the outside environment. Closed wounds have damage that occurs without exposing the underlying tissue and organs.
•Acute and Chronic
Wounds are classified as acute or chronic depending on how long they take to heal. Acute wounds heal without complication in a relatively predictable amount of time. Chronic wounds take longer to heal and often involve some complications.
•Clean and Contaminated
Clean wounds have no foreign materials or debris inside. Contaminated wounds (also known as infected wounds) might contain dirt, bacteria or other foreign materials.
What could be affecting your wound healing?
Aging affects everything in the body and that includes the structure and function of the skin. Everything slows down during the aging process, including the phases of wound healing. Skin gets thinner and the body shows a decreased inflammatory response meaning that, as you get older, your skin is predisposed to injury and will heal slower when injury occurs.
Proper nutrition is vital to optimal healing. A wound is unable to heal properly if you lack the necessary nutrients for cell repair and growth.
Anyone surpassing their ideal body weight by 20% or more has a greater risk of infection when healing a wound.
If you have multiple wounds or have undergone a severe trauma (e.g. surgery) your body’s defense mechanisms will be limited and slow wound repair.
Skin needs an adequate amount of fluid and moisture to be viable. If you’re prone to dry skin (especially common in the elderly) you may be at risk for skin lesions, infection, and thickening, which will all impair wound healing. On the flip side, if the skin is too wet, you’re at risk for developing maceration and/or infections, so maintaining an optimal level of skin moisture is imperative for healing wounds.
Chronic diseases have a direct impact on the body’s natural ability to heal. Cardiovascular conditions are among the most detrimental, but diabetes and immunodeficiency conditions can also slow wound repair.
Prescription medications can have a negative effect on healing. For instance, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs often prescribed for arthritis and found over the counter as aspirin and ibuprofen, can interfere with the inflammation stage of the healing process. Anticoagulants have the capacity to disrupt blood clotting, while immunosuppressants may weaken the immune system and enhance the risk of infection.
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