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Bedsores are the result of inflammation and damage caused by irritation to the skin and inhibited blood flow. The condition occurs when skin is rubbed against a bed, chair, cast, or other hard object for an extended period of time. Bedsores can range from mild inflammation to deep wounds that involve muscle and bone. Infections can be a serious complication to the condition.
Bedsores are also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, or pressure sores. They often start out with shiny red skin that becomes itchy or painful, then quickly blisters and deteriorates into open sores. Once there is a break in the skin, there is a strong possibility of the sore becoming infected, causing further medical problems. Bedsores are most apt to develop over the bony prominences of the ankles, the hip bones, the lower back, the shoulders, the spinal column, the buttocks, and the heels of the feet. Bedsores are most likely to occur in people who must use wheelchairs or who are confined to bed.
Bedsores are medically categorized by stages:
Bedsores most often happen when the most superficial blood vessels are pressed against the skin and squeezed shut, closing off the flow of blood. If the supply of blood to an area of skin is cut off for more than an hour, the tissue will began to die due to lack of oxygen and nutrients. Ordinarily, the layer of fat under the bony areas of the skin helps keep the blood vessels from being compressed in this way. Also, people have a normal impulse to change positions frequently when they are sitting or lying down, so the blood supply is usually not kept from any area of the skin for very long. Bedsores are most likely to occur in people who have lost the protective fat layer or whose movement impulse is hindered.
Friction or rubbing from poorly fitted shoes or clothing and wrinkled bedding often cause a sore to develop. Constant exposure to the moisture of urine, feces, and perspiration may also cause the skin to deteriorate. In such cases there is an increased the risk of skin infection as well as sores.
Risk factors for bedsores:
Author Info: Patience Paradox, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 2005This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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