Minor scrapes and bruises heal quicker in younger patients than older ones. The body’s capacity to heal a wound slows down as people get older due to a lack of growth factors and stem cells in the skin. Poor nutrition and chronic diseases can also affect the wound healing process for the worse.
Natural age-related changes in the body can prevent older individuals from healing as fast as when younger. The speed of wound healing depends on a person’s state of health and other factors that are a part of aging.
Skin aging involves the loss of elastic tissue and collagen fibers in the outer dermal layer. Elastic tissue and collagen fibers help the body recover from an injury. Skin that has lost elasticity has a more difficult time returning to the original shape. Additionally, older skin tends to have a high risk of scarring.
Collagen is critical to the wound healing process. Collagen boosts tissue growth in the wound by promoting cell development and tissue regeneration in the skin. A lack of collagen can slow down the wound healing process in older adults.
Some medical conditions can reduce the body’s ability to heal a wound. For example, diabetes and cardiovascular problems can narrow blood vessels, causing a reduction in blood flow. Blood flow delivers oxygen to the body, including wounds. A wound without a proper oxygen supply can stall the healing process.
Malnutrition in the elderly population is concerning. A healthy and balanced diet can influence wound healing by providing the body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein required to recover from an injury. Nutrients can be lost in the fluid coming out of a wound. Wound healing depends on proper nutrition across all ages.
Lack of exercise and other unhealthy habits
Proper blood circulation can improve the wound healing process. Some people aren’t as physically active during later years of life. A sedentary lifestyle can reduce the body’s ability to heal. Exercise can improve the body’s ability to heal a wound.
Hyperbaric care for wound healing
New and improved treatment options promote wound healing in older individuals. Many patients with wound healing issues have turned to hyperbaric oxygen therapy for an increased concentration of oxygen in the body to promote wound healing with incredible results. Patients who struggle with slow-healing wounds can consult with a physician about the benefits or hyperbaric oxygen therapy.