What are pressure ulcers?
Pressure ulcers also referred to as bedsores or pressure sores, are skin and tissue injuries caused by prolonged pressure to the skin. Pressure ulcers are commonly found on the “bony” parts of your body including ankles, heels, hips and buttocks. 1 If left untreated, pressure sores can compromise your health and even lead to death.
What factors cause pressure ulcers?
Decubitus ulcers occur when extended periods of pressure limit blood supply to underlying tissues and skin. People with medical conditions such as paralysis or immobility, which limit a person’s ability to shift weight or change positions, are at risk for pressure ulcers. Additionally, confinement to a bed for extended periods of time can lead to pressure ulcers.1
How pressure ulcers are treated?
Pressure sores are categorized into four stages:
- Stage I ulcers are not actually open wounds. The skin may be very sensitive with a reddish appearance and could feel softer or firmer than the skin around it. When you press the ulcer it will not blanch or lose color when your finger is removed.2
Stage I pressure sores are often treated by incorporating pressure reduction products such as special cushions, mattress pads, and heel protectors. A person confined to a bed or wheelchair should change position frequently, every two hours if bed confined.1
- Stage II is when an ulcer forms and the skin has the appearance of a blister, scrape, or shallow crater which is tender or painful. At Stage II ulcerated skin may die or not be repairable. Treatment for a Stage II pressure sore incorporates Stage I pressure relieving techniques and products. Additionally, debridement, the removal of dead tissues from the wound, is added to treatment. 1 Debridement may include a wound dressing such as Iodosorb/Iodoflex which are iodine based products. Always consult your physician when treating pressure sores.
- Stage III pressure sores are worsening ulcers that may show fat cells without visibility of muscle, tendon, or bone in the wound. They have the appearance of a small crater. 1
- Stage IV pressure ulcers are deep sores extended into the muscle and bone with extensive damage to deeper tissues.
Consult with your physician for additional treatment options for Stage III/IV. Serious complications can arise if infection forms or the pressure ulcer progresses.2
Prevention of pressure ulcers is the ultimate treatment since it is easier to prevent a sore than treat. If you suspect you or a loved one have a pressure sore consult your physician for immediate care. AllegroMedical.com has been providing wound care, pressure relief products, and medical supplies since 1997.