Treating Pressure Sores With Good Nutrition

Treating Pressure Sores With Good Nutrition - People who have to remain in the same position for long periods of time are susceptible to decubitus ulcers, or as they are more commonly referred, bedsores. Because these are not always related to lying in a bed and has nothing to do with the bed itself, the more commonly accepted term is pressure sore. It is the pressure of the body against a surface for extended periods of time that causes the sore to be created.

Treating Pressure Sores With Good Nutrition
The ancient Egyptians suffered from these sores, or so the scars on their mummified remains indicate. No matter what they are called, they are painful and can lead to serious infection and may be even more problematic than just a simple bump or bruise might be. Some people are more prone to these sore than others, and some of these people will never heal from one.

The sores can start from as little as one hour of pressure and may take months to heal.

Pressure Sores Are a Painful Reality
Anyone can get a pressure sore although certain groups are more vulnerable than others. Elderly women, especially those who have heart disease and/or diabetes are among the most vulnerable population. Those who are small and thin are also at a much higher risk for pressure sores as there is increased build-up of pressure from their bones rubbing against the skin and then against the surface that they are lying on.

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Areas of the body that are most prone to this type of sore are those that are called the bony prominences, such as the elbows, the heels, the lowest part of the curve of the back and the backside itself. Pressure sores are a combination of the pressure of constantly being in one position, the bones rubbing through the skin and poor nutrition. Anyone who is at high risk for a pressure sore or is recovering from one should take great care to improve their nutrition.

Poor nutrition is the single most important factor for prevention and treatment of a pressure sore. A person who is seriously malnourished is at a much higher risk of developing a serious and potentially life threatening pressure sore. A doctor will determine how serious the sore is by the amount of damage that is done to the skin's surface and underlying structure, a phenomenon referred to as tunneling.

While the pressure sore may start as continued redness even after the source of the pressure is removed, the skin may soon crack and then the damage will start to travel through many layers of the skin, through to the muscle and sometimes even down to the bone itself. The redness indicates that some damage has already been done; however, there are those who may not notice this sign or the tingling and pain that is associated with the sore itself. Those who have reduced sensitivity may not even be aware of a problem, especially one that is on an area that they cannot see until it is already too late.

There are three ways to prevent pressure sores:
- Careful investigation and monitoring
- Proper nutrition
- Proper treatment

Anyone who is at high risk for bed sores should be monitored and have their skin checked over thoroughly and frequently. Those who spend a lot of time in a wheelchair or are in bed and unable to change position on their own should have a head-to-toe assessment with each bath and during each linen change.

Frequent turning and position changes should also be done. In most nursing homes, the recommended period for bed checks is two hours; however, this time might be too long for some people. It is not only small and thin people who get pressure sores; even larger people may get them if they are not turned and cleaned properly.

Those who are incontinent may be at higher risk for pressure sores because their urine can degrade the condition of their skin even faster.

Getting the Proper Nutrition
Some of the people who are in the highest risk groups for pressure sores are also at the highest risk for poor nutrition as well. Some of the conditions like Alzheimer's disease and dementias, diabetics and others may cause poor appetites and may also cause problems related to actually eating food. They may forget to eat, forget that they have not eaten or may even eat food that is no longer good. Getting the proper nutrition is important and having a protein supplement as part of the overall healthy diet may be a good idea, especially in light of the increased need for this nutrient to help heal the damage from the bed sore.

Proper treatment for the pressure sore includes using methods for easing the pressure including lamb's wool pads and frequent turning and repositioning. A pressure sore that is more serious than redness that only lasts a few minutes should be checked by the doctor for proper treatment. In some cases there will be medications that are required for the sore, especially if it involves deep tunneling and serious skin damage. In other cases, the condition may require hospitalization and constant monitoring to prevent deadly infections.

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