Wounds can be very painful and discomforting especially when they last for a long time. Wounds can be gotten from falls, burns, cuts and require immediate attention.
1. Wound healing
Wound healing is a biochemical process where damaged cells and tissues are repaired. Wound healing could take some time depending on the type of wound and the availability of resources required to heal the wound. The processes involved in wound healing include:
- Haemostasis: This is the first process of wound healing. Just after a wound is sustained, blood vessels (platelets) within the wound begin to clot together. These blood vessels are held together by a protein called fibrin. This process basically stops the flow of blood in the wound.
- Inflammation: After haemostasis is achieved, phagocytes (white blood cells) are now introduced to the site of the wound. These white blood cells are responsible for clearing out any microorganism or infection of the wound. The white blood cells clear the site for the production of new cells. The wound might become very painful and itchy because of the action of the phagocytes.
- Proliferation: In this stage, angiogenesis takes place. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from vascular endothelial cells. Myofibroblasts begin to appear on the edges of the wound and come together to reduce the size of the wound and form a base for the granulation tissue. The granulation tissue is formed and usually indicates the progress of healing from the color of the wound.
- Maturation: This is the final process of wound healing. Collagen is modeled, blood vessels in the wound now decrease and unwanted cells begin to die.
2. Factors that affect wound healing
The rate at which wounds heal is affected by a lot of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Supply of oxygen to the wound: Oxygen greatly affects the rate of wound healing. Cells need oxygen in order to heal the wounds. With a low supply of oxygen, these cells would not be able perform their required work.
- Infection: Infected wounds are the reason for the action of the phagocytes. The rate at which these phagocytes fight infection of the wound greatly affects the healing of the wound. When the phagocytes are unavailable or the body has a weak immune system, the wound tends to last longer and might even become chronic if not treated.
- Age: Research has proven that older people tend to have a slower healing process than younger people. So it would be quite normal for wound healing to take longer as you age.
- Diabetes: Diabetes greatly influence the healing abilities of a person. It has been proven that diabetic patients have great impairment in healing abilities and wounds might tend to become chronic.
Generally wounds, no matter how small, should be given uttermost attention to avoid them from progressing into a chronic state and facilitate effective healing.
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