Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or ulcers, is a skin condition that it most often experienced by seniors with mobility problems.The reason they affect people with low mobility issues is because they are caused by spending a long time in a single position, causing unrelieved pressure on a single body part.
Bedsores are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, they often develop on skin that covers bony parts of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone. According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores develop quickly and most sores will heal with treatment, but some never heal completely.
However, there are preventative measures that you can take to reduce the risk of dealing with bed sores. A few simple things like stretching, getting regular exercise, stretching, and more can go a long way toward preventing pressure sores.
What Is A Bedsore?
Simply put, a pressure sore or bedsore is an area of the skin that has broken down when something keeps rubbing or pressing against the skin. These sores occur when there is too much pressure on the skin for too long. This reduces blood flow to the area, causing the skin to die which can form a sore.
Bedsores are caused by pressure against skin that limits blood flow to the skin. Constant pressure can lessen the blood tissue. Without oxygenated blood reaching the skin and tissue the body parts can get damaged and eventually die. Friction can also lead to a bedsore when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding. It can make fragile skin more vulnerable to injury. Shearing can also lead to bed sores. This occurs when two surfaces move in opposite direction, for example, if the tailbone or other body part moves and the skin over the bone stays in place, it can lead to a bedsore.
As mentioned before, one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to bedsores is lack of mobility which may be due to poor health, spinal cord injury, and other causes. Other factors include poor nutrition and hydration which is important for maintaining healthy skin and preventing the breakdown of tissues. Along with these problems, medical conditions that affect blood flow can also increase the risk of skin damage.
Prevention of Bed Sores
While there are many influencing factors that can increase the risk of bed sores, there are also a number of ways to prevent them. One of the best ways to protect the skin against this is to take care of the skin. Keeping the skin clean and dry by using a cleanser and limiting the skin’s exposure to moisture can go a long way in protecting the skin. Similarly, using talcum powder on friction points and applying lotion to dry skin can keep help. It is also important to change bedding and clothing frequently.
To prevent bedsores it is important to re-position yourself in your bed or chair. Shifting weight frequently and lifting yourself, if possible, can help to avoid stress on the skin.
To further help prevent bedsores, you can exercise to help regulate and lose excess weight, and stretch to improve circulation.
Bedsores are split into four categories: Stage I through Stage IV. Stage I or II sores heal if cared for properly. Meanwhile, Stage II and IV sores are harder to treat and can take a long time to heal.
If you or a loved one is experiencing some type of problem with bedsores or pressure sores, it is best to speak with a medical care provider about the best path forward. It is important to keep the wound clean to prevent infection and further injury to the area. For a Stage I sore, you can wash the area gently with mild soap and water. Stage II sores should be cleaned with salt water rinse to help remove loose or dead skin tissue. As for Stage III and IV sores, it is best to have them treated by a medical professional.
If the problem gets worse and becomes more serious, it is best to call a doctor. Call a medical provider if you or a loved one develops a blister or open sore. Call immediately if there are signs of infection, such as:
- Bad odor coming from the sore
- Pus coming from the sore
- Redness and tenderness around the sore
- Skin close to the sore is warm and swollen
If not handled promptly and correctly, bed sores can lead to more serious problems and can even become infected and can require immediate medical attention.
Overall, bedsores can be a serious health complication, and if not treated properly can become more serious. Bedsores, or pressure sores, are skin conditions that occur when the skin and underlying tissue is broken down when something keeps rubbing on or pressing against the skin. The constant pressure on the skin can lead to decreased blood flow to the area and cause the skin to die and create a sore on the affected area. There are a number of ways to prevent a bedsore, such as taking good care of the skin and keeping it dry. Similarly, keeping the bed sheets changed and and changing clothing regularly is a good way to prevent bedsores.
Dealing with and preventing bedsores can be a difficult thing for anyone, but the problem can become even harder to deal with if your loved one is living alone. Furthermore, bedsores can be hard to care for and clean on your own, however, with the help of a caretaker or assisted living facility, the sore can be treated properly. At Landmark Senior Living, our staff is equipped and prepared to take care of your loved one to help them deal with whatever medical or health problem they have. Landmark can also offer them fun activities to keep them entertained and socially engaged at this stage in their lives. If you are interested and would like to learn more about what Landmark Senior Living can offer your loved one, please visit our website and schedule a complimentary walkthrough of one of our assisted living facilities.