Wounds propose a substantial health hazard to patients, providers and the global health economy, affecting millions of patients and costing billions dollars/euros annually.
Wounds can be divided into wounds that cure within ± 12 weeks, and hard-to-heal wounds, wounds that do not heal at all or only after a very long time. The number of hard-to-heal or chronic wounds is growing due to the aging of the population, and the increasing incidence of diabetes.
Chronic wounds cause very high costs: of around €10.000 per wound per year.
Diabetic foot ulcers
415 million people are diagnosed with diabetes worldwide and this number rises every year. Diabetes is associated with peripheral neuropathy, where nerves become damaged. People who develop neuropathy don’t feel pain when they are injured, so they may not notice soft tissue damage in the foot until the damage is quite extensive. Many of these people also have peripheral artery disease (PAD) as a result of poor blood circulation to the legs. PAD reduces a person’s ability to fight infection and puts them at a higher risk of developing foot ulcers. 15% of people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer, 2-4% will face an amputation because of an infection and other related complications.