Pressure ulcers are an injury that breaks down the skin and underlying tissue. They are caused whenan area of skin is placed under pressure.
They are sometimes known as "bedsores" or "pressure sores".
Pressure ulcers can range in severity from patches of discoloured skin to open wounds that expose the underlying bone or muscle.
They can also occur when less pressure is applied over a longer period of time.
The extra pressure disrupts the flow of blood through the skin. Without a blood supply, the affected skin becomes starved of oxygen and nutrients, and begins to break down, leading to an ulcer forming.
Pressure ulcers tend to affect people with health conditions that make it difficult to move, especiallythose confined to lying ina bed or sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Conditions that affect the flow of blood through the body, such as Type 2 diabetes , can also make a person more vulnerable to pressure ulcers.
Learn moreabout the causes of pressure ulcers .
It's estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer in any given year. This is usually people with an underlying health condition for example, around1 in 20 people who are admitted to hospital with a sudden illness will develop a pressure ulcer.
People over 70 years old are particularly vulnerable to pressure ulcers, as they are more likely to have mobility problems and ageing skin.
Treatment for pressure ulcers includes the use of dressings, creams and gels designed to speed up the healing process and relieve pressure. Surgery is sometimes recommended for the most serious cases.
For some people, pressure ulcers are an inconvenience that require minor nursing care. For others, they can be seriousand lead to life-threatening complications, such as blood poisoning or gangrene .
Therefore, a range of techniquesis used to prevent them developing in the first place. These include:
Read about treating pressure ulcers and preventing pressure ulcers for more information.
Unfortunately, even with the highest standards of care, it's not always possible to prevent pressure ulcers in particularly vulnerable people.
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.