Pressure sores, which are also called pressure ulcers or bedsores, are an injury that occurs when the skin has had excess pressure on it for a prolonged period. Anyone can get pressure sores at any age when they sit for long periods.
Other people who tend to get pressure sores include people who are:
- Confined to bed rest like post-surgery, during pregnancy, and so on.
- Confined to a wheelchair due to mobility problems.
- Diagnosed with various medical conditions such as MS (multiple sclerosis), diabetes, Parkinson’s, and others.
- Overweight or obese.
- Paralyzed to some degree.
- Having bowel or urinary incontinence problems.
- Not eating a balanced diet.
What Causes Pressure Sores
Pressure sores start to form when blood flow to the area is cut off and the surrounding skin and tissue are under constant pressure. Without blood flow to the skin, the skin dies, and an ulcer starts to form in the location of the dead skin.
Initially, the skin may look like dry skin, where it is broken, cracked, or scaly. A blister may also form so it may look like one has pimples or blisters with puss-filled heads on the affected area.
Stages of Pressure Sores
There are four general stages of pressure sores that are used to define the severity of the condition. At each stage, the pressure sores become worse and go deeper into the skin and surrounding tissue.
Stage 1 Pressure Sores
At this stage, the sores are not that bad. They can itch, burn, or even be sore to the touch. They may feel hot and the skin can be red like it is irritated.
Stage 2 Pressure Sores
The pressure sores are a little deeper into the skin. They may have a head on them, so they look like blisters or pimples. They are sore to the touch and can be uncomfortable to sit on. The affected area can also appear to be swollen.
Stage 3 Pressure Sores
At this stage, the skin will start to turn black since it will be dead. The sores are deeper and extend into the fatty tissue layers, so they will have a crater-like appearance. Pus and fluid can drain out of the sores. The sores may also be infected, have an odor to them, and be very painful.
Stage 4 Pressure Sores
The sore has gone deeper and it now affects muscles and ligaments. The sore and crater opening has also gotten bigger. The skin surrounding the sore is black because it is dead. The sores are extremely painful to the touch.
When the pus is cleaned away, it may even be possible to see bone if the sore is deep enough. Stage 4 pressure sores should be considered serious since infection is almost always present at this stage. If not treated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
How Are Pressure Sores Treated?
Pressure sores are treated based on their stage of development. At Stage 1, you will need to keep the sore clean, adjust how you sit to take any pressure off the sore, and you must get up and move every hour or so.
At Stage 2, you will need to clean the sore several times daily, keep a wound dressing on it, and follow your doctor’s advice. For both stages, your doctor may recommend using foam cushions, pads, pillows, or an alternating pressure relief bubble pad system air mattress to help alleviate the pressure.
At Stage 3, you may need antibiotics and need to have your doctor clean the wound to remove dead skin. You will need to clean the wound frequently and use wound dressing. At Stage 4, you will require antibiotics to fight infection. Your doctor will also need to remove the dead skin and clean the wound. Surgery might even be required too.
How Can Pressure Sores Be Prevent?
The easiest way to avoid pressure sores is to avoid sitting for prolonged periods. You need to get up and move around every hour or so. You should make sure you have proper foam padding, cushions, and pillows so that you can adjust how you sit. You can also adjust your sitting position every 15 to 20 minutes.
Pressure sores are preventable and treatable. The sooner they are caught, the better. If you are looking for furniture for the elderly, so you can age in place at home, be sure to explore our products or call atHand® Overbed Table System at (440) 628-9550 if you have further questions or need help placing your order today!