- by Maharani Devi Medical Center
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- Mar 08 2017
Bed Sores: Causes and Symptoms
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, resulting from perpetual pressure on the skin. It is common among those with a medical condition that restricts their ability to move or change positions.
Bedsores occur as a result of the pressure formed against the skin, limiting blood flow to the skin.
The primary factors that contribute to bedsores are:
- Pressure: Applying constant pressure to any part of the body restricts the blood flow to tissues that is required in order to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues. In the absence of these essential nutrients, the skin and nearby tissues get damaged and may eventually die.
- Friction: This happens when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding, making the delicate skin more vulnerable to injury.
- Shear: When two surfaces move in the opposite direction, it leads to shear. For instance, when a bed is elevated at the head, you tend to slide down in the bed, causing the tailbone to move down while the skin over the bone stays in place.
If you have difficulty moving or are unable to easily change your position while being seated or in bed, you are at the risk of developing pressure sores. Some risk factors include:
- Immobility; owing to poor health or injury to the spinal cord
- Lack of sensory perception; caused by spinal cord injury or neurological disorders and other conditions that cause a loss of sensation
- Poor nutrition and hydration
- Medical conditions that affect blood flow, such as diabetes and vascular disease
The obvious warning signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers are:
- Changes in skin color and texture
- Pus like draining
- Areas of the skin that feel cooler or warmer to touch compared to other areas
- Tender spots
COMMON AREAS OF BEDSORES
If you are wheelchair bound, pressure sores can occur in the following sites:
- Shoulder blades
- Back of your arms and legs, touching against the wheelchair
If you are confined to a bed, the common sites for pressure sores include:
- Back or sides of the head
- Shoulder blades
- Hip or lower back
- Heels, ankles, knees
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
The Doctor will closely examine the sores to determine whether you have a pressure sore and the severity of it.
Treatment involves reducing pressure on the affected skin, caring for the wound, cleaning the wound, easing pain , preventing infection and surgery in case of a sore that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment.
You can help prevent bedsores by using the following methods:
- Frequently reposition yourself to avoid stress on the skin
- Take good care of the skin
- Keep the skin dry
- Good fluid intake
- Quit smoking
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