Category Archives: Health Info

Understanding Pressure Sore

What is Pressure Sore?

Pressure sore is a skin ulcer that can also be described as a bed sore. They can also be known as decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers and pressure wounds.  A bedsore is an area of reddened skin that progresses to breakdown of skin and underlying tissue to form sores and ulcers.

Pressure sores or bedsores often caused from lack of blood flow and from mechanical stress to the skin and tissues over a bony area that has been under pressure for a prolonged period. If blood supply is cut off to an area of skin for more than 2 or 3 hours, the skin is deprived of oxygen and begins to die. In addition, when slowly sliding down a bed or chair, friction to the outer skin layer such as from wrinkled bedding and clothing can contribute to skin injury and ulcers. Besides that, excessive exposure of skin to moisture such as sweat, blood, urine or faeces can also increase the likelihood of bedsores.

Pressure sores often form over bony areas of our skin where there is little cushion in between the bone and the skin.  Most pressure sores form on the lower part of the body, including over the tailbone and on the back along the spine, on the buttocks, on the hips, and on the heels. Other common spots are the back of the head; the backs of the ears; the shoulders, elbows, and ankles; and between the knees where the legs rub together.

 

Image courtesy of Nucleus medical media

 

Pressure sores can extend from red areas on the surface of the skin to severe tissue damage that goes deep into muscle and bone. These sores are hard to treat and slow to heal. Other problems, such as bone, blood, and skin infections, can start to arise when pressure sores do not heal properly.

People whom are immobile due to illness or injury are at greatest risk of getting bedsores. These people may be wheelchair-bound or bedridden and are unable to change position without assistance. Also at risk are people whom, due to nerve damage from injury or illness such as diabetes or stroke, are unable to sense pain or signals that normally make people move. Elderly people are also at greater risk because their skin is thinner and more fragile.

 

Articles courtesy of New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated