Pressure ulcers are also known under the names of pressure sores or bedsores. A person ends up with pressure ulcers after suffering an injury to the skin and the underlying tissue. The injuries usually occur due to pressure on the skin which lasts for a long period of time. In a majority of pressure ulcers cases, these injuries on the skin usually occur in places of the body where the skin covers the bony areas of the body. These places are heels, ankles, hips and especially buttocks. Every person can end up suffering from pressure ulcers but people who have some sort of a medical condition which makes them unable to move a lot and change positions are more prone to developing them. Pressure sores are known to develop fast but the treatment time is not a short one. However, there are ways these ulcers can be prevented and every person who is in danger of them should get to know these preventive methods.
Injury to the skin
When symptoms of ulcers are considered, it is important to know that the experts have divided them into four stages according to their severity. If the skin is intact or appears red on a person whose skin color is lighter, then the person’s condition falls under stage I of pressure ulcers. Some other characteristics of the skin are that it does not lighten for a short period of time when it is touched and the site on the skin may feel painful, firm, soft and either warmer or cooler when compared to the skin that surrounds the site. If the pressure ulcer is an open wound, then it is considered to be in stage II. In this stage both the upper layer of the skin and a part of the underlying layer are either damaged or even lost. The wound itself will look like a shallow and basin-like wound, red in color. In some cases it may look like a blister. If the ulcer has become a deep wound and looks like a crater, then it is already in stage III. The loss of skin is present and even some fat is visible. It is common for the bottom of the ulcer to have some dead tissue of yellow color. At this stage it is not only the healthy layers of the skin that are damaged.Stage IV is the final and most severe stage of pressure ulcers. The wound on the skin will show muscle, bones and tendons and the bottom of it will usually contain slough which is dark in color. Multiple layers of skin are damaged in the final stage. Every person whose movement is limited needs to make sure to inspect the skin almost daily as a part of routine nursing or home care. At the first signs of pressure ulcers the patients need to contact the doctor because there are a lot more chances of success if the condition is treated in the early stages. If a person experiences a fever or drainage or foul odor from the wound, he or she should immediately contact the doctor.
The best way to prevent pressure ulcers
Even though not every disease is easier to prevent than treat, every expert agrees that it is far better to prevent a condition than treat it. When pressure ulcers are considered, they are much easier to prevent than treat. However, it is important not to think that prevention will be easy and without any complications. Even if a person does everything to prevent the sores, they may still appear. Every person who wishes to prevent pressure ulcers from occurring needs to talk to the doctor because he or she will be able to help the patient develop the best possible strategy. The most important thing for prevention of pressure ulcers is changing the position. It is essential that a persona voids putting certain parts of the skin under pressure. Making these positional changes needs to be done quite as often as possible. A person needs to learn about the positions in which the pressure on the skin will be the least damaging. Apart from positional changes, there are several more very important factors in prevention of pressure sores and they are skin care, regular skin inspections and a healthy nutrition. For both people in a wheelchair and in a bed, frequency of positional changes is essential. Apart from that, there are special wheelchairs and mattresses which people should consider buying. Protecting the bony areas with cushions is also important. Skin care is not only good for the prevention of pressure sores but it is also good for identifying the sores while they are still in the first stage. Paying attention to bathing is very important.When nutrition is considered, the experts agree that a person who is in danger of pressure sores needs to increase the intake of calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and zinc. Drinking plenty of fluids is important as well.