How do platelets aid in the healing of cuts? Thrombocytes or platelets present in our body play a vital role to heal the body naturally. These are small membrane-bound cell fragments that break off in the bloodstream with red and white blood cells. Platelets are mainly known as necessary to form clots in the area of injury and prevent bleeding. However, they are present in our body for even performing a large number of functions for which they are probably less known.
Platelets flood the growth factor in the area of injury and cut to stimulate blood cells to multiply and create a protective layer over the inflamed area, which amplifies the cellular generation and repair process. How does the wound heal and how do platelets aid in the healing of cuts? Let’s discuss them in detail.
How do Platelets Aid in the Healing of Cuts?
There are steps that involve a natural wound-healing process.
1. Hemostasis – Preventing Bleeding
Usually, when your skin gets punctured, scraped, or gets cut, it starts to bleed naturally. In just a few minutes and seconds, the blood starts forming clots on the inflamed area protecting the wound to prevent blood loss. Within a few seconds, they begin to dry, covering them with a protective layer of platelets in the form of blood cells. These clot cells also contain fibrin – a form of protein which helps form a cover to hold these clots in place and prevent bleeding.
Once the platelets and protein create the protective layer, fresh nutrients and oxygen are released from the blood vessels through the bloodstream to the wound healing area. For a quick healing process, the right amount of blood-borne oxygen is necessary. As it is a natural process without applying any other external application of medication, oxygen plays an important role from within because less or an excess amount of oxygen would not help the wound heal correctly.
Macrophages or a group of white blood cells also get activated and they form a cover as wound protector. This cell protection prevents germs and infections and takes a roll in the repair process. You might see this white clear fluid around the cut within a few minutes. They also produce and send chemical messengers as a growth factor that helps repair wounds.
3. Rebuilding and Regrowth
Once the protective layer of fibrin and white blood cells is formed, oxygen-rich red blood cells reach to build a new layer of tissues onto the wound. These blood cells create collagen which serves as a type of scaffolding forming tissues and expedites the healing process which initially forms a scar which becomes red first and eventually fades to brown.
With every passing time, the newly formed tissues underneath become stronger which starts promoting itching, and at this stage, you might begin feeling your skin a bit stretchy. No matter how deep the cut or wound is, it quickly starts recovering itself and the major process happens in the first six weeks. In three months, the skin at the wound gets stronger as up to 80% of the repair process completes by returning the skin back as it was before the injury. However, the wound area will never be able to attain 100% of its natural strength. Depending on the severity and size of the wound, some wounds take forever and some years to entirely heal.
5. Interrupted Wound Healing
The healing process of a wound might seem a simple and natural process but it’s complicated and it won’t be done properly if a series of chemical signals don’t perform accurately. Besides, there are factors that would prevent and slow down the healing process by which wounds may take time to heal or may not heal properly.
One of the most important factors that prevent a wound from healing is the poor or reduced amount of blood supply at the time of injury to the wound. Because the number of fresh nutrients and oxygen helps wounds in healing successfully without getting affected by infections. If the blood supply is not enough, the wound may take double the time it takes to heal or may not heal at all – naturally.
Wounds that are not healed on time are called chronic wounds and are commonly seen in elderly people, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other vascular disease that prevents proper blood flow.
Obesity is another reason that creates complications in recovering from surgeries and wounds. Being overweight increases tension and pressure on stitches, which breaks them open.
In addition to people with diseases, individuals who smoke also pose a high risk to their health, not in terms of lung cancers only but in wound healing as well. They have a potentially low possibility of wound healing due to poor blood supply.
People with high consumption of alcohol also have high risks of infections and complicated wound healing processes. They also have poor recovery rates even after a small surgery.
If you are dealing with wounds that are not healing in their specific time frame, try visiting your healthcare provider and getting a proper diagnosis behind your delays in the healing process. If you get an injury and you are expecting it to heal itself but if it’s getting worse, appearing swollen or infected, becoming hot or painful while touched, or getting oozing/draining pus, you must visit your healthcare provider immediately. Also, inform your physician if you smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any lingering disease that is affecting your wound to healing.