People of all ages in Australia suffer from wounds. Frequently the wounds heal with self care and simple first aid measures. While chronic wounds can affect any age group, it is predominantly the elderly who are at greater risk because they are more likely to have the complications from one of more chronic diseases that can delay wound healing. Some medications can also slow down or affect the wound healing process.

People at risk of chronic wounds or wounds that are hard to heal include:

• The elderly
• People with diabetes
• People with cardiovascular diseases
• People with renal disease
• People who are obese
• People with lymphodeama (the build up of excess fluid in the body tissues because of obstruction of lymphatic drainage back into the bloodstream)
• People with more than one of the diseases mentioned above

The main risk factors for pressure injuries are:

• Immobility and lack of activity,
• increased skin moisture (as a result of incontinence, sweating, oozing or weeping wound)
• difficulty eating a healthy diet with a variety of foods
• chronic illness
• poor skin health

People who are more likely to experience venous leg ulcers include people with a history of:

• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT / blood clot) in the leg
• Pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lung)
• Being overweight
• Multiple pregnancies
• Varicose veins
• Standing for long periods
• Lack of ankle movement
• Previous slow to heal leg wounds
• Slow to heal leg wounds in other members of your family

People with diabetes may develop diabetic related foot disease. Risk factors for diabetic related foot disease include:

• Previously un-diagnosed diabetes ie the diabetes is diagnosed at the same time as the diabetic foot ulcer.
• Poorly or difficult to manage diabetes
• Previous diabetes related foot disease
• Peripheral vascular disease where there is decreased blood supply to the extremities (hands and feet)
• Peripheral neuropathy where there is nerve damage in the extremities causing a decrease or loss of sensation in the foot