Despite how happy we would all be to avoid it, getting older is an experience we all have to handle. As we age, it’s important to understand how the changes affect how we think about everything from the clothes we wear to the roles we serve to the ways our body can heal.
With that said, how does age affect wound healing? It slows the process down enough that a minor cut causes more worry than it may have in the past.
Here are the top reasons why aging slows the speed of wound healing:
Increasingly fragile skin
As we get older, our skin begins to lose elasticity – which is the reason wrinkles are an indicator of age. Wound Source noted that environment, exposure to smoking, stress or radiation, drugs, diet, lifestyle and family history can further influence how skin ages. Regardless of the reason, however, changes in skin composition make the risk of skin tears, bruises and other wounds skyrocket as we age.
Age-related health conditions
Medical conditions that are more common in elderly adults, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can have a negative effect on the healing process. For instance, when the health issue prevents fresh blood cells from quickly reaching the wound, the affected area loses out on the nourishment and oxygen levels it needs to promptly begin the first phases of the healing process.
Changes in the cells
Recent experiments at The Rockefeller University suggested an explanation that goes beyond surface-level observations. According to the researchers, aging causes a disruption in communication between skin and immune cells that travel to the wound to begin the healing process. This disruption means it takes longer for those cells to start working their magic on the affected area, causing a stall in healing. The discovery explains why kids form scabs at a significantly faster rate than their parents and grandparents – but also provides researchers with valuable information to potentially improve wound care for older adults.
Practicing caution as we age
Awareness is the first step to preventing wounds as we age. Make sure you understand different types of wound and treatments, and visit your doctor to assess wounds with less hesitation than you may have had in the past. Wound Source also recommended protective arm sleeves and routine moisturizing to protect sensitive skin from injury.
When you are injured, ask your doctors about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue for the smart delivery of wound care supplies that makes following your treatment plan as simple as possible.