Pressure ulcers are caused by the sustained pressure exerted by hard surface, such as bed or wheelchair on skin. It reduces the blood flow to nearby skin and tissues, thereby limiting the amount of oxygenated blood and nutrients. This makes skin vulnerable to damage and result in development of pressure ulcers. Maintaining normal mobility eliminates the chances of pressure ulcers as regular body movements divert pressure from one point to another.
The time taken by pressure ulcer to form depends mainly on two main factors:
Less mobility, poor nutrition, urinary/bowel incontinence and being over 70 years of age are some of the factors that increases the risk of pressure ulcer. Also depending upon the type of pressure ulcer, the cure duration may vary. Stage 1 and stage 2 pressure ulcers have the skin intact and with little care they are healed by themselves. Once it goes beyond stage 3 and stage 4 the skin gets broken. This reveals inner tissues to outer environment making them susceptible to further damage. The main aim at this stage is to prevent infection and protect skin to allow the healing process.
The main cause of development of pressure ulcer is the sustaining pressure on skin. By changing positions frequently, pressure ulcers can be avoided. The best way to do is by repositioning body every couple of hours. If the body is in front position then change it to sideways or any other position. Similarly, if required to sit continuously then walk around for while and sit back. This ensures proper flow of blood, eliminating the development of pressure ulcers.
Keeping skin clean and dry will reduce the chances of pressure ulcers. Use mild soap and clean the skin with lukewarm water. Do not ignore hard to reach places. Take assistance of someone else if needed. Use towel to pat dry the skin. Avoid rubbing too hard as it may lead to skin irritation.
Exercising is a great way to avoid pressure ulcers. Exercise increases the heart rate and results in proper blood circulation. When nutrient filled oxygenated blood reaches every part of the body, it reduces the chances of development of pressure ulcers. Even while in bed, some light exercises can be done. Raise your arm and then hold it there for 8 to 10 seconds. Repeat it multiple times.
Use pressure relieving mattresses and cushions that relieve pressure for the most vulnerable body areas. Depending upon the part of the body, right cushion and mattress can be chosen. People at higher risk of developing pressure ulcers usually benefit from uniquely designed foam mattresses. People on higher stage would require more sophisticated cushions and mattresses for pressure ulcers.
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Ayush Henry, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016. He holds an MBA in hospitality and a MA in English. A professional HR soft skills trainer and copywriter, he ...
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