If you’ve ever had a cut or a burn, you know how painful it can be while your body works to heal itself over time. Fortunately, most of those injuries heal normally and relatively quickly. But for millions of Americans, the presence of a wound that simply won’t get better over time is an everyday struggle.
These wounds, referred to as chronic wounds, represent a major quality-of-life concern for those living with them, and we want to highlight their causes, their dangers, and opportunities for healing in honor of Wound Care Awareness Month.
What Are Chronic Wounds?
Wounds are characterized by injuries that cause breaks in the skin, and wounds that take more than six weeks to heal completely are generally considered chronic wounds. Non-healing wounds most often come in the form of open sores (ulcers), burns, or cuts that get infected.
These wounds are most commonly caused by:
- Poor blood and/or oxygen circulation
- Insufficient nutrition
- Continued trauma
What Are the Statistics Surrounding Chronic Wounds?
Chronic, non-healing wounds are probably more common than you might think. In fact, Healogics estimates that there are nearly 7 million people in the United States living with this type of wound. Unfortunately, many of these people don’t receive the treatment they need and deserve. Here are some other important statistics to know:
- On average, people with non-healing wounds have three to four chronic conditions such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, cardiovascular disease, or COPD
- Chronic wounds incur an estimated $50 billion cost on the healthcare system every year
- Nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries experience a chronic wound every year
- Up to 25% of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer
Did you know that Charles County, Maryland, has a disproportionate diabetes death rate compared to the rest of Maryland and the United States? That means more people in our community need to be vigilant about getting chronic wounds, especially diabetic foot ulcers, addressed sooner rather than later.
What Are the Dangers of Chronic Wounds?
These wounds are far from just painful — they’re life-changing and potentially life-threatening conditions. It’s estimated that foot ulcers are at least correlated to 80% of lower-extremity amputations. Unfortunately, people who do undergo amputation have a 50% 5-year mortality rate.
Because of this, it’s especially important for people with chronic wounds to seek treatment as soon as possible. Check out our previous blog post for even more reasons why you might want to seek a chronic wound specialist if you have a slow-healing or non-healing wound.
Where Do I Find Chronic Wound Care in Southern Maryland?
Caring for chronic, non-healing wounds requires advanced procedures. Fortunately, Southern Marylanders with chronic wounds don’t have to go far to find exceptional, compassionate care.
The University of Maryland Charles Regional Center for Wound Healing offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, and other chronic wounds. It has been recognized by Healogics for consistently positive patient satisfaction rates and care outcomes. Leading-edge treatments at this specialty practice include:
- Negative-pressure wound therapy
- Total-contact casting
- Bio-engineered tissues
- Biosynthetic dressings
- Growth factor therapies
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
To learn more about our Center for Wound Healing or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (301) 609-7701 today.