'Hidden affliction': Don't be blind to chronic wounds
AUSTRALIAN seniors are being urged to seek medical attention at the first sight of chronic wound symptoms to avoid the nation's "hidden affliction".
Wounds Australia are warning the older generation to open their eyes to the insidious nature of chronic wounds and are using Wound Awareness Week - from July 15 to 21 - to spread the message: Don't stay "blind to wounds".
"Chronic wounds are a hidden affliction in Australia and must be recognised as a serious health issue to safeguard our ageing population," Wounds Australia CEO Anne Buck said.
Chronic wounds are cuts or breaks in the skin that don't show signs of healing within 30 days or that keep recurring and cost the health system an estimated $3 billion each year.
And though they can be treated by wound care specialists, many sufferers don't recognise the signs or know how to seek treatment.
"I wish I knew to ask the question 'is this a chronic wound?" David Templeman said.
David lived with a chronic wound for most of his life after injuring his leg playing football in 1970.
But it was only last year that David discovered he had been living with a venous leg ulcer - a treatable injury.
"My one piece of advice is that you shouldn't suffer in silence - if a wound doesn't show signs of healing within four weeks, you need to treat it seriously and seek appropriate medical assistance," David said.
Ms Buck said chronic wounds can devastate sufferers, and with Australia's population continuing to age, number expected to soar in people aged 65 and over.
"Many chronic wound sufferers experience physical, emotional, and social health barriers as the wounds stop them from enjoying the activities they normally do," she said.
"This also causes financial insecurity for most because ongoing wound management is costly for the individual - and if not treated correctly - can cause further medical issues,"
Wounds Australia are calling on older Australians to use Wound Awareness Week to talk to medical professionals so they can understand what the wound warning signs are and what action to take if they have a chronic wound.