Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are my wounds healing slower?"
I?m 41 years old and have noticed that if I get minor cuts or scrapes (which happens often at my job) they take much longer to heal than they used to. Is this just part of getting older? Could something be wrong with my immune system?
Healing from a wound undergoes several steps. First, the wound becomes inflamed as immune cells work to clear any potential infections. Next, cells around the wound multiply to facilitate growth of new skin that replaces lost tissue as well as new blood vessels form. Finally, scar tissue forms to mimic the structure of the skin before the wound to heal the tissue. That said, there are many reasons why a wound is slow to heal. Certain wounds take longer to heal than others (i.e., leg or foot ulcers). Poor nutrition can also damage the body's ability to heal wounds. Too few calories, especially from proteins, and inadequate vitamin (and zinc) intake may affect wound healing. An infected wound harboring a large number of bacteria usually slows the healing process. The elderly and persons with reduced immunity are at great risks for wound-related infections as there is always danger of rapid multiplication of bacteria. Therefore, these people take longer to heal with any type of wound- even with seemingly minor injuries. There are some medical conditions that can keep wounds from healing at proper pace. A common one is diabetes. Slow healing wound can be an early sign of diabetes because it impairs blood circulation (if blood sugar is not controlled) diminishing the transport of oxygen and nutrients to your cells which slows down the healing process. When your wounds heal slowly enough for it to be noticeable, it is good idea to see a primary care doctor who will evaluate the underlying cause why you heal slowly.
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