Every wound goes through distinct stages of the healing process. This typically begins with bleeding (although pressure sores and burn injuries do not bleed), and progresses to scabbing and swelling. Then, the tissue regrowth phase begins, followed by scar formation. However, not all wounds heal as expected. Sometimes, the healing process gets “stuck” and the wound becomes a chronic health problem that refuses to fully heal. These slow-healing wounds require specialized wound care.
Many of these slow-healing wounds may be attributed to underlying medical conditions that inhibit the healing process. In patients with diabetes, for example, the circulatory system isn’t as robust as it should be. When the wound doesn’t receive enough oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood, it can’t heal properly. Other medical conditions that can contribute to a slowed healing process include anemia, vascular disorders, and any condition that suppresses immune function.
The presence of dead or necrotic skin at the wound site can inhibit the healing process. The same thing happens when foreign materials are present. To overcome this barrier to healing, a wound care specialist may perform tissue debridement to remove the necrotic skin and facilitate the healing process.
Smoking will ruin a person’s health in many different ways. One of the many dangers of smoking is the inhibition of the wound healing process. Every time you inhale smoke, carbon monoxide goes into your blood cells. This lowers the level of oxygen in your bloodstream, which consequently reduces the amount of oxygen traveling to the wound site. This is only one way that smoking inhibits the healing process.
Smoking also encourages slow healing wounds because it increases the risk of infection by suppressing the immune system. In turn, infections can contribute to poorly healing wounds. Furthermore, smoking constricts the blood vessels. These narrowed blood vessels cannot carry oxygen to the wound as efficiently.
If you need care from a certified wound care nurse, you can turn to the inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs at Life Care Center of Sierra Vista. This center offers specialized closed pulse irrigation for advanced wound care. You can call their office in Sierra Vista, AZ at (520) 458-1050 with any questions you may have.