Pressure ulcersare causedby sustained pressurebeing placed on a particular part of the body.
This pressure interrupts the blood supply to the affected area of skin. Blood contains oxygen and other nutrients that are needed to help keep tissue healthy. Without a constant blood supply, tissue isdamagedand will eventually die.
The lack of blood supply also means that the skin no longer receives infection-fighting white blood cells. Once an ulcer has developed, it can become infected by bacteria.
People with normal mobility do not develop pressure ulcers, as their body automatically makes hundreds of regular movements that prevent pressure building up on any part of their body.
For example, you may think that you are lying still when asleep, but you may shift position up to 20 times a night.
Pressure ulcers can be caused by:
The time it takes for a pressure ulcer to form will depend on:
Grade three or four pressure ulcers can develop quickly. For example, in susceptible people, a full-thickness pressure ulcer can sometimes develop in just one or two hours. However, in some cases, the damage will only become apparent a few days after the injury has occurred.
There areseveral factorsthat increase the risk ofdeveloping pressure ulcers. These include:
These are discussed in more detail below.
Possible reasons for having a mobility problem are:
Reasons that your diet may lack nutrition include:
Health conditions that can make you more vulnerable to pressure ulcers include:
There are several reasons why ageing skin is more vulnerable to pressure ulcers. These include:
Both urinary incontinence (inability to control your bladder) and bowel incontinence (inability to control your bowels) can cause certain areas of the skin to become moist and vulnerable to infection. This can cause pressure ulcers to form.
People with severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia (a condition where people have problems telling the difference between reality and imagination) or severe depression have an increased risk of pressure ulcers for a number of reasons. These include:
Pressure ulcers, sometimes known as bedsores or pressure sores, are an injury that affects areas of the skin and underlying tissue.
Depending on the severity of a pressure ulcer, symptoms can include red or discoloured skin, itchy skin, blisters or an open wound.
Pressure ulcers are caused by sustained pressure being placed on a particular part of the body. This pressure interrupts the blood supply to the affected area of skin.
Pressure ulcers are easily diagnosed by looking at them. However, health professionals prefer to prevent ulcers developing in the first place, so it's important to assess a person's risk of developing them.
Treatment options for pressure ulcers include regularly changing position, special mattresses and dressings, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Even with the best possible medical care, complications can arise from grade three or grade four pressure ulcers and can be occasionally life-threatening.
As part of your treatment plan, your care team will discuss with you the best way to prevent pressure ulcers. This may include changing position, checking your skin and a healthy diet.