Understanding the wound healing process - The wound healing process is a natural recovery response to damaged body tissue. Minor injuries can be cured with self-care at home, but there are a number of medical conditions that make it difficult to heal.
Injuries are injuries that involve damage to body tissues and generally occur in the skin. The skin is the largest body organ in humans and plays a role in protecting the body from microbes (viruses, fungi, bacteria). If the skin is injured, germs can easily enter the skin and cause infection.
Berets, punctures, cuts, and burns are forms of injury. In addition, surgical sutures also belong to the wound. The most common causes of injury are sharp objects, falls, scalded water, and accidents.
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How is the Wound Healing Process?
The wound can heal by itself through treatment independently at home. Independent wound care can be done if the wound is not too deep, not in dangerous parts of the body, for example on the face, and bleeding stops in a short time or about 10 minutes.
The wound healing process requires several stages.
Phases of Wound Healing
Stage of inflammation
In the early stages of the wound healing process, the blood vessels will narrow to stop bleeding. Platelets (cells that play a role in blood clotting) clot in the area of the wound. After freezing is complete, the blood vessels will dilate to drain blood to the area of the wound. This is the reason why the wound feels warm, swollen, and reddish.
Then, white blood cells flood the area to prevent infection, by destroying bacteria and other microbes. White blood cells also produce chemical compounds that help repair damaged tissue. Then the new skin cells grow so that it covers the wound area.
This stage is the stage of scarring formation after injury. At this wound healing stage, collagen begins to grow inside the wound. Collagen is a protein fiber which gives skin strength. The presence of collagen pushes the edges of the wound to shrink and close. Furthermore, small blood vessels (capillaries) form in the wound to give blood to the newly formed skin.
Collagen production continues to increase so that damaged tissue recovers slowly. The ripening process can take months or even years. This is why the longer the scar fades.
After the damaged tissue has completely recovered, the skin will be as strong as before it has been injured. However, the appearance of the scarred skin may be different from normal skin. This is because the skin is composed of two proteins, namely collagen which gives skin strength, and elastin which gives flexibility to the skin. In scars, the skin cannot produce new elastin, so the scar is made entirely of collagen. The skin on this scar is strong but less flexible than the surrounding skin.
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Specific Conditions That Cause Wounds Difficult to Heal
There are several conditions that cause difficult wounds to heal, namely:
Bleeding makes the wound difficult to close, making it difficult to heal.
Foreign objects, including dead skin tissue, inhibit wound healing. Dirty wounds are also susceptible to germ infection so that the wound healing process can be disrupted. Therefore, it is very important to clean the wound and treat the wound properly.
The friction of the wound with clothes can aggravate the condition. It is recommended to wear soft clothing and cover the wound to avoid friction.
Wounds tend to heal longer in the elderly.
Lack of nutrients such as vitamin C, protein and iron can inhibit the healing process of wounds.
Research shows that the process of wound healing in sm0kers is much longer and imperfect compared to people who do not sm0ke. This is thought to be related to the effects of sm0king which can interfere with the performance of white blood cells and interfere with blood flow, as well as high levels of toxins in the blood.
Physical and psychological stress is proven to have an effect on the wound healing process. This is thought to be related to the effects of stress on the low amount of oxygen in the blood so that the wound healing process becomes longer. When experiencing stress, a person is also more likely to lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and consuming excessive alcohol, thus contributing to wound healing.
Injuries to patients undergoing dialysis procedures, chemotherapy, treatment with corticosteroids or blood thinning drugs, tend to be more difficult to heal.
The wound healing process is strongly influenced by blood flow and the role of white blood cells as part of the immune system. Blood-related diseases, such as anemia and vascular disease, can reduce blood supply to the wound tissue, thus slowing the recovery process.
Diabetes is also one of the conditions that make it difficult to heal wounds. Wounds in diabetics tend to be more difficult to heal. Even small cuts can deteriorate quickly and become dangerous infections if not treated immediately. Leg injuries are the most common injury in diabetics. In severe cases, amputation of the foot must be done so that the infection does not spread.
The process of slow wound healing is caused by high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar that is too high will reduce blood flow, inhibit cells from getting nutrients and oxygen, interfere with the immune system, and increase the risk of inflammation. This condition will certainly hamper the process of wound recovery.
The time needed for a wound to actually recover depends on the condition of the wound. The bigger, deeper, and dirty the wound condition, the longer the healing process will be. If you have a serious injury or bleeding in a wound that does not stop, you should seek help from a doctor or health worker and undergo wound treatment at the hospital.