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Pressure Ulcers (Part I)

Also knows as bedsores, pressure sores and decubitus ulcers. Are areas of skin and underlying tissue damage that happens when the skin and underlying tissue over a bony prominence is compressed between that bony prominence and an external surface for a prolonged period of time, the unrelieved pressure on the skin and underlying tissue will lead to compression of the blood supply to that area, as a result of the decreased blood supply and oxygen the skin begins to die forming an ulcer. Friction of the skin created by the body sliding over a bed sheet, etc contributes also to the skin injury and the formation of ulcer, too much moister such as sweat and urine may also contribute to the formation of an ulcer. Although pressure ulcers can happen anywhere in the body, the hip, heal and buttocks are common sites.

Risk factors for pressure ulcers:

  • Persons at a high risk of developing pressure ulcers are those who are immobile due to an injury or an illness. Any injury or illness that leads to immobility or causes the patient to be bedridden for a long time will increase the risk of pressure ulcers.
  • Persons who have decreased or absence sensation due an injury or illness are also at risk.
  • Older persons have a higher risk because of their increased incidence of debilitating diseases and the thinning and fragility of their skin.

Signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers:

Depending on the severity, pressure ulcers are classified into four stages:

Stage 1: The skin is intact with pink or red coloration that doesn’t blanch with pressure; skin may be itchy, painful and may feel worm to the touch.
Stage 2: Partial thickness skin loss. There will be blistering or an open sore (ulcer), the area is red, painful and swollen, dead tissue may be present.
Stage 3: Full thickness skin loss, crater like ulcers are present that extends to the subcutaneous tissue.
Stage 4: Full thickness skin loss with the involvement of muscle, tendon, bone or joint.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.