According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that nearly 5.7 million Americans suffer from chronic wounds. If a wound has not improved significantly in four weeks or if it has not completed the healing process in eight weeks, it should be considered a chronic wound.
Here are five reasons why many wounds don’t heal.
- Poor Nutrition. Did you know that when the body is working to heal a wound, it takes up to three times the normal daily requirement of protein? Patients with chronic wounds need to pay special attention to their diets.
- Infection. Infections can all but halt the wound healing process. That’s one of many reasons they need to be taken care of right away.
- Inadequate Circulation. Blood brings healing cells to the site of the wound. If your circulation is poor, that process doesn’t work as well.
- Excessive Edema. Edema, or swelling, occurs when fluid leaks from blood vessels and accumulates in nearby tissue. Swelling impairs the body’s ability to heal by restricting oxygen to skin that is required for normal healing.
- Pressure. People who are on bed rest for a long period of time need to be moved regularly to heal and prevent pressure sores. The same goes for those who have spinal cord injuries or who are paralyzed in their lower body. Diabetics with neuropathy and foot deformities have increased plantar foot pressures leading to ulceration.
Patients who have diabetes, arterial disease or chronic edema of the lower extremities, a history of collagen vascular disease such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis or wounds related to radiation injury should seek early referral to Maine Medical Center’s Wound Healing & Hyperbarics Program. The outpatient program provides medical evaluation of patients with wound healing problems and specialized treatment of these wounds using the most advanced techniques, products and services. The center is staffed by specialty trained team of doctors, nurses and other health care providers dedicated to the treatment of wound healing problems as well as the prevention of wounding in the future. The phone number is easy to remember: 662-HEAL (4325) You can learn more here.