The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

April 3, 2014

Wound care is essential for proper healing

Wounds come in many shapes and sizes, and are the result of a variety of accidents or conditions. Some people wait too long to seek medical care for their wounds, thinking that the wound will heal over time.

For many, wounds may heal with time or basic treatment. But for people with other health problems — such as diabetes, history of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease or history of swollen legs — healing can be severely compromised. This makes it important to seek care in a timely manner.

Let’s explore some questions about wounds and wound care.

Q. What are common causes of chronic and severe wounds?

A. There are many causes of chronic and severe wounds, including:

* Pressure ulcers

* Diabetic complications

* Surgical wounds

* Burns

* Trauma

* Vein problems

* Skin irritations or complications

Q. What types of wounds do clinics see most frequently?

A. One of the most common wounds seen in hospitals and clinics is a venous stasis wound — the result of the one-way valves in veins not properly functioning. This improper valve functioning then leads to increased pressure in the veins, which can eventually lead to water blisters. When these blisters pop, the wound allows an entry point for bacterial growth. This can turn into an infection and may require hospitalization.

Fortunately, if venous stasis wounds are caught soon enough, most of these wounds heal with use of a compression stocking. Some patients will need to wear compression stockings indefinitely to decrease the recurrence of future wounds.

Diabetic-induced wounds are also common. Data from estimates that there are nearly 18 million Americans living with diabetes. And of diabetics, about 15 percent will develop a foot ulcer, which is a common cause for diabetic wounds. This type of wound can lead to infection and even amputation. Seeking medical attention for diabetic wounds is vital.

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