Bed sores are ulcers with different possible degrees of severity, appearing on human bodies. Decubitus ulcers by nature, these are also often referred to as bed sores. The severity of such a sore can range between a mild pink temporary spot on the body that gets removed within a few hours of removing the pressure to glaring ulcers that pierce deep into the body exposing the inner organs or bones. This form of ulcer can potentially be extremely painful, and people bedridden because of prolonged periods of illness, paralysis and fractured bones are even known to die from septic conditions occurring because of severe bedsores. So, understanding and taking the right care of health to avoid and cure these ulcerous lesions is extremely important.
There are four stages of a bed sore depending upon its level of severity. The levels have been formally classified by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. The stages are the following.
Stage 1: The sore starts appearing as a persistent pink or reddish skin. It may itch or hurt, and a touch on this area may feel soft and warm.
Stage 2: Skin loss starts happening - both the outer and inner layers of the skin start getting lost - and the pressure sores start appearing like blisters.
Stage 3: The bed ulcer now goes deep into the tissues below the skin. A hollow wound is clearly visible. By now it is extremely painful.
Stage 4: By now there is damage to underlying muscles and possible exposure of bones. The ulcer now is in extremely advanced stages.
Bed sores are caused by sustained pressure applied on a certain section of the body. These are typically seen to occur more above the portions having bones and cartilages. The primary causes of these wounds are the following.
Pressure: Sustained pressure applied on some parts of the body is the most frequent cause of catching these ulcers. This happens most often in cases where the patient is immobile. Examples of immobility are fractures and paralyses, to name a few. The tissues under continuous pressure get deprived of the desired levels of nutrients including oxygen. This leads to bed sores.
Friction: Friction happening often enough at given areas of the body can potentially lead to these ulcerous wounds. Turning side-to-side too frequently and skidding down the wheelchairs are some primary sources of harmful friction.
They say, prevention is better than cure. Your best option to protect yourself against decubitus ulcers is to protect yourself. There are devices specially designed for these purposes. The exact device to use would depend upon the depth and stage of the ulcer, including its level of severity and position of the sore wound on the body. Usually, medical insurances cover the cost of such devices - but it is advisable to double-check with your insurance provider before you commit.
Finally, ignoring bed ulcers can lead to severe complications. This includes but is not limited to cellulitis, sepsis, joint infections, bone issues and even cancer. So it is critically important that you take adequate preventive measures to save yourself from bed sores.