Battling With Bed Sores

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are caused by damage to the underlying tissues and vessels. This causes the skin to die, creating a bed sore. If improperly treated, the risks of dangerous complications increase. If you’re battling with bed sores, it’s important to learn how to take action. Bed sores affect people with mobility issues, and several factors such as age, weight loss, poor diet and nutrition, incontinence, smoking, a high moisture environment, and medical conditions affecting blood flow put an individual with mobility issues at an even higher risk of getting bed sores. 
Battling with bed sores


There are three main factors attributed to causing bed sores: Prolonged pressure, friction, and shear force. Prolonged pressure from lying or sitting in one position for too long creates pressure that is greater than the pressure of blood flowing through vessels. This cuts off the oxygen and nutrients that are being supplied to the tissue through the vessels. Over periods of time this causes the tissue to die. Bed sores tend to form where skin covers bone because pressure is concentrated in these areas.

Resistance caused by the skin dragging on a stationary surface creates friction. This friction damages the skin, tissues, and vessels making them more susceptible to pressure. Shear force is similar to friction but is caused by the skin moving in the opposite direction as a moving surface, such as a hospital bed.

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There are four stages of bed sores. A bed sore that does not turn white when pressed on and is tender to the touch, but does not have any breaks or tears is a stage 1 bed sore. A stage 2 bed sore has broken open and formed an ulcer that has spread to deep areas of the skin, and some areas may be damaged beyond repair. Stage 2 bed sores often look like blisters or scrapes on the skin.

Stage 3 bed sores have ulcers that extend to the tissues under the skin forming a small crater. Stage 4 bed sores are very deep with the ulcer reaching muscle and bone causing extensive damage. Stage 4 sores may also affect tendons and joints. Stage 3 and stage 4 bed sores may cause little to no pain due to the amount of damaged tissue.

Treatment for stage 1 and stage 2 bed sores can usually be done at home. With constant care of the bed sore and overall general care and hygiene, stage 1 and stage 2 bed sores will heal within several weeks to a few months.  Stage 3 and stage 4 bed sores are difficult to treat and medical treatment is highly recommended.

Without proper medical treatment bed sores can cause bone and joint infections, sepsis, cellulitis, and even cancer. Reducing pressure through frequent repositioning and support surfaces, keeps pressure off existing sores and allows them to heal quicker. Cleaning and dressing the bed sores frequently, creates a barrier against infection by keeping the bed sores moist and the surrounding skin dry.

For bed sores to heal properly they need to be free from dead, damaged, and infected tissue. Depending on the severity of the bed sore, your doctor may choose one of four ways to remove this tissue. Enzymatic debridement involves applying chemical enzymes and dressings to the bed sore to break down the dead tissue. Mechanical debridement loosens and removes tissue using a pressurized irrigation device or low-frequency mist ultrasound. Autolytic debridement uses the body’s natural process of using enzymes to break down dead tissue. This is done through specialized dressings to keep the wound moist, and only works for uninfected sores. Lastly is surgical debridement in which the tissue is surgically cut away.


Other treatments may include pain management, negative pressure therapy, a healthy diet, and management of incontinence. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience foul odor or pus coming from the bed sore, redness and tenderness around the bed sore, skin around the bed sore that is warm to the touch, or if you have a fever.  


Jessica Hegg is the content manager at  Interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.

Battling With Bed Sores Battling With Bed Sores Reviewed by Chibuzor Aguwa on Tuesday, December 06, 2016 Rating: 5

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