Chronic wounds require special treatment

February 05, 2020

Millions of people throughout the United States suffer each day from an epidemic that is expected to grow over the next decade.

Millions of people throughout the United States suffer each day from an epidemic that is expected to grow over the next decade.

Chronic wounds drastically affect people by diminishing their overall quality of life and potentially decreasing life expectancy, if left untreated. Not only is this condition painful, dangerous and scary, but it is also estimated to cost the healthcare industry more than $50 billion annually. Chronic wounds are sores or ulcers that do not heal. These wounds are most common on the legs and feet, but can occur anywhere on the body.

Every year, non-healing wounds affect nearly 7 million people in the U.S. An aging population and increasing rates of diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and vascular disease, contribute to the chronic wound epidemic. Approximately 30 percent of untreated chronic wounds result in amputation, and the five-year post-amputation mortality rate is 50 percent.

As the only center recognized in the state of Kentucky as a President’s Circle Center of Excellence last year, Baptist Health Wound Care offers a specialized level of care for chronic wounds that is typically unavailable in a private office setting. Wound care center staff receive specialized training, have experience in unique dressings and therapies and have seen thousands of wounds of different etiologies to use as reference for immediate care of complex wounds in order to achieve optimal results.

“Most all healthcare providers have seen and treated simple wounds,” said Chad Bassi, DPM. “However, as the complexity of the wound and the patient rise, the unique services of a wound care center are extremely beneficial.” 

Dr. Bassi is one of the panel physicians at Baptist Health Wound Care. Nearly 50 percent of the wounds he treats are diabetic foot ulcers. “Diabetic foot ulcers are an example of a chronic wound that can deteriorate quickly,” he said. “Prompt intervention through advanced treatment can be a real difference maker in the outcome of these wounds and patients.”

Pressure injuries are another example of a chronic wound requiring a comprehensive approach to treatment in order to reduce the incidence of infection and recurrence, said Melissa Gott Wilson, APRN, Baptist Health Wound Care. “Pressure injuries are often associated with prolonged healing and poor outcomes,” Wilson said. “We aim to ensure patients with these wounds receive appropriate care and education early in their treatment to truly improve their quality of life and chances of healing.” 

Baptist Health Wound Care offers these tips to help reduce the risk of underlying conditions for chronic wounds.

Be informed. Have you been diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension? Do you have an open wound that hasn’t healed? Keep your appointments with your medical provider. Be honest with them. Ask questions. Discuss your family history and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and other conditions.

Feet first. Have you examined your feet recently? Have you asked your healthcare provider to examine your feet? If you suffer from diabetes, it is especially important that you perform foot inspections to determine any sores, signs of infection or areas of concern.

Put it out. Don’t smoke or use tobacco of any kind. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease and is a general cause of slow-healing wounds.

Color and rough it up. Eat a diet that is heart-healthy. This includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other low-fat sources of protein. This will help in maintaining a healthy weight, which can serve to reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. All of these chronic conditions can lead to heart disease.

Step it up. Exercise and physical activity can lead to better circulation, and improving the flow of oxygen to wounds is an important factor in healing. Living an active lifestyle with 30 minutes of daily exercise is best for overall health.

If you or someone you love has a wound that has not healed in 30 days or shows signs of infection, contact Baptist Health Wound Care at 270.575.2414. A physician referral is not required.