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Nutritional Tips for Bed-ridden Patients to Keep Skin Healthy

Good nutrition is essential for everyone to lead a healthy, disease-free life. Good nutrition refers to a balanced diet with all required micro and macro nutrients in proper amounts.

Taking care of the nutritional requirements in crucial for people who are suffering from or at a risk of developing bedsores. They may need extra proteins, vitamins and minerals and calories to help their wounds heal. 

A deficiency in these vital nutrients may result in delayed wound healing and further complications such as infections. Malnourishment may result in weight loss and compromised immunity in the bed-ridden. In fact, malnourishment is a proven to be associated with the development of pressure ulcers in the long-term bed-ridden patients. This is a direct result of weight loss, poor visceral protein and low body-mass index.

Here are a few nutritional factors to be taken care of to maintain proper skin health in the bed-ridden.

Pay attention to the micro and macro nutrients

It is crucial to ensure that their calorie requirements are met and depletion of protein and fat stores doesn’t happen.

Blood sugar monitoring is such patients is also very important as hyperglycaemia can result in delayed wound healing which will eventually result in increased infection rate and sepsis.

Protein intake is key

A deficiency of proteins in their diet can adversely affect healing. Amino acids such as arginine are known for their wound-healing properties. These patients may require twice the normal requirement of protein.

Hypoalbuminaemia (A low serum albumin level) is significantly associated with the occurrence of bedsores as an adequate albumin level is essential for wound healing.

Good sources of protein include milk, eggs, pulses and meat.

Importance of Iron

Anaemia of low haemoglobin levels can increase the incidence of bedsores and cause delayed wound healing as a deficiency of haemoglobin which is the oxygen carrier can result in reduced oxygenation of tissues. 

Greens, beets, red lean meat, lentils and cereals are all good sources of iron.

Zinc it up

Zinc is an important mineral to maintain healthy immunity and healing. A deficiency of zinc can adversely affect cell regeneration at the wounded site and also epithelialization (covering of wounds)

Sea-food, meat, milk, eggs, wheat germ and whole wheat are all good sources of zinc.

Vitamins are vital

Vitamin C is known to enhance iron absorption and since the body cannot naturally store large amounts of this vitamin, it is essential to monitor patients for this deficiency. Adequate levels of vitamin C is proven to aid wound healing significantly.

Citrus fruits and green vegetables are a good source of this vitamin.

Vitamin B also plays a very important role and can be found in cereals, whole wheat and other fortified foods.

Other care tips include:

  • Monitoring the weight of these patients regularly and accordingly designing their nutritional requirements.
  • A regular meal plan with enough calories and nutrients and also supplementation wherever necessary.
  • Record their diet and get periodical nutritional assessment.
  • If oral feeding is impacted, enteral feeding with proper care is essential.

While most bed-ridden patients have a whole host of physical ailments and limitations to deal with, taking care of their nutritional requirements and ensuring they are not malnourished can alleviate their struggles.

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