Wound healing is a natural biological process in the human body. For a wound to heal completely, several different stages of healing must take place. Under ideal circumstances, this happens relatively quickly and without complications. There are, however, several factors that can affect how well a wound heals and the appearance of the scar that will form.
Oxygen is critically important in all wound-healing processes. It helps prevent infection and promotes several different healing processes. When circulation is poor and the wound does not receive sufficient oxygen, healing is greatly impaired. Proper oxygen levels can be maintained by exercising regularly and not smoking. See your doctor for any wound that is not healing properly to discuss options for more intensive oxygen therapies or other measures that may help.
Your skin keeps many organisms from entering your body, but when the skin is injured, those organisms are granted access to the underlying tissues. Even a minor infection can cause a wound to take longer to heal and affect the final appearance of the scar; an invasive infection can produce prolonged inflammation which, in extreme cases, cause the wound to enter a chronic state and fail to heal. For these reasons, it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely after surgery or otherwise keep a wound clean and free of infection.
Age is a major factor in wound healing – specifically, advanced age is a risk factor for delayed healing. Older people commonly notice that their wounds take longer to heal, but delayed wound healing is not the same as impaired wound healing or complications with wound healing. Older individuals may have delayed collagen-producing responses and other wound healing processes may also be slower. Exercise is one factor that can improve an older adult’s wound healing; this may be due to anti-inflammatory responses in the wound. Being aware of potential problems and taking proactive steps like exercising, eating well, and keeping a wound clean can improve the odds of a wound healing quickly and normally.
Read: Do Scars Grow with Age?
It has long been known that psychological stress can have a physical impact. One way in which stress can impact a person physically is by causing a delay in wound healing. Sometimes stress can take the form of a negative emotional state such as anxiety or depression, which can also affect physiological processes like wound healing – or behavioral patterns that can affect wound healing. For example, if a person is depressed, they may be more likely to neglect proper wound care, or if a person is anxious they may be more likely to smoke. Stress can also affect things like sleep patterns and diet, factors that also play important roles in wound healing.
These are just a few of the factors that affect wound healing; others include nutrition, whether a person smokes, diabetes, and exposure to UV rays, among others. Being informed and following healthy guidelines for proper healing can give you the best possible outcome when it comes to the healing of your wound and any lasting scarring.
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