A wound is a type of injury where the skin is torn, cut or punctured. Wounds can become chronic and difficult to heal, and can occur as a result of surgery, illness, or sustained pressure on a bony area, known as pressure ulcers.
Wound healing and nutrition
There is a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating the essential role of nutrition in wound healing. Without adequate nutrition, healing of wounds may be delayed or they may not heal at all.
Wound healing is a complex process involving the replacement of injured tissue with new tissue produced by the body. The larger the wound, or the longer a wound exists, the greater the demand for more specific nutrients. When skin is damaged it requires not only the nutrients for normal functioning, but extra to aid faster and healthier healing.
It is important to be in the best health possible when you have a wound, so resting, gentle exercise, low stress, and quality food and fluids will help to optimise wound healing.
Optimising your nutritional intake is important to ensure you are providing your body with what it needs to give wounds the best chance to heal.1
If any of the following points apply to you, then it may not be possible to achieve adequate levels of essential nutrients through normal consumption of food and liquids:
- You are losing weight
- You have frequent admissions or re-admissions to hospital for more than one week
- You are entering into a residential aged care facility with a wound present
- You have poor appetite
- You feel weak and tired
- Your skin wounds easily
- You have wounds that are not healing
In these cases, nutritional supplementation may be beneficial, and have been shown to promote wound healing.1, 2 Keep an eye on your weight and consult your healthcare professional or dietitian if you have unintentional weight loss.
1. Williams, JZ. & Barbul, MD. Surgical Clinics of North America, 2003;83:571-596
2. Hurd, TA. Wound Care, 2004;2(2):20-24