Who is at Risk of Developing Bed Sores?
Bed Sores: Know more to heal better
Constant pressure on any part of the skin creates pressure on the skin and underlying tissues which results in a condition called as "Bed Sores" or "Pressure sores". This condition is commonly found in people who are bed-ridden, immobile for long, unconscious or unable to sense pain. These pressure injuries are also known as, "Decubitus ulcers".
Where does bed sore affect?
Bed sores can happen on any part of the body under pressure for long time -
- Heel of the feet
- Shoulder blades
- Back of the head
- Sides of the knees and others
Reduction in blood supply for hours together in the skin and underlying tissues will result in death of the skin, followed by painful red spots that eventually turn purple. Such soreness of skin when left untreated will result in infections and can take months or years to heal.
Initial stages of bed sores can be observed and treated at home whilst the advanced stages need medical assistance.
Risk of developing bed sores: Whom does it affect?
Bed Sores are ulcers that can happen to anyone irrespective of age. Nevertheless it's also evident that most of such injuries are found in elderly people who are more vulnerable to it because of the associated diseases old-age carry.
- Bed ridden people, Elderly, Immobile, Partially Mobile, Elderly People using diapers, People with spinal cord injuries spending more time in one position are highly prone to skin soreness.
- The risk of developing bed sores reduces highly even with a little movement from the affected person. This movement continually redistributes the pressure between our body and the mattress/chair.
- People who are in consciousness often tend to try and move automatically at regular intervals as the pressure mounts on one surface of the body. Whereas people who are unconscious or suffering from dementia/Alzheimer's miss these signals and end up affected largely by bed sores.
- People in the wheelchair succumb to bed sores as movement isn't an easy thing for them. Moving to a comfortable position might have the risk of rubbing body parts against the chair seat. Movement with such people greatly depends on their weight as well.
- It is evident that people who are paralysed mainly with spinal cord injuries are forced to spend their time in one position resulting in getting affected by bed sores. When Christopher Reeve, the actor who was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident, died in 2004, news accounts said he died from a bedsore-related infection. However such cases are extreme conditions.
- People with fecal and urine incontinence often are seen suffering from pressure ulcers. Since incontinence leads to moist skin, it becomes important to have a check on such people which otherwise will result in affecting the skin badly.
- Conditions that affect blood flow and circulation like diabetes, very low blood pressure, peripheral vascular diseases also make people susceptible to bed sores. Diabetes damages the nerves and results in poor circulation which poses a problem in recovering from the bed sores.
- Adding up to all these above stated points, poor skin care, inappropriate sleep positions, ignorance, malnutrition adds up to the severity of the bed sores.
Treatment and Care:
Treatment of bed sores in any patient becomes easy with early diagnosis. Caretakers are to be on high alert with susceptible patients and often check for the occurrence of pressure injuries.
- Applying aloe vera gel, home-made turmeric paste, moving as much as possible, physiotherapy will help prevent these ulcers.
- Eating nutritious food rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and other nutrients help subside the effect of bed sores. Frequent massages with lotions rich in vitamin E will come handy and comfort the person.
For higher grade of bed sores it's suggested to take medical assistance.