Bed Sores and Alternating Pressure

Sometimes it is necessary to remain seated or bedridden for an indeterminate amount of time. Whether you suffer from paralysis or are recovering from surgery, some situations cannot be helped. While some definitely need the time to recover from illness, there are side effects to prolonged inactivity that can hinder a full recovery. Bed sores are the most common, but the good news is that they are treatable and preventable.

What are they?

Bed sores are also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, decubiti, or decubitus ulcers. They begin as red, painful areas on the skin (often the legs and backside) and may turn purple or even black if undetected or untreated. In some cases, hasta yatağı can lacerate and become infected, causing further medical problems. Bed sores are of particular concern among the aged and paralyzed, as they can lead to fatal conditions. Actor Christopher Reeve, paralyzed after an accident, succumbed to illness brought on by severe bed sores that became infected.

What causes them?

Inactivity is the most common cause of pressure sores. Sores develop on the skin when the blood supply is cut off from that particular area of the body. As the skin dies it becomes rough and discolored, and very painful when pressure is applied.

Alternating pressure in prevention and treatment

The best way to prevent bed sores is good blood circulation to all parts of the body. Relieving pressure points in the legs and coccyx muscles can promote healthy blood flow and in turn regenerate healthy skin. For this purpose, alternating pressure may be applied as part of treatment if a patient is unable to move or leave a chair or bed.

Alternating pressure refers to a device that inflates and deflates in sections. Think of an air mattress or air seat cushion. As one pocket, the air is stagnant and does not move. When you sit on one, it may feel like sitting on an elevated version of the chair. Circulation remains the same.

Alternating pressure, however, works in a cushion devised of two or more air bladders interconnected to alternate inflating and deflating. Some bladders rise while others fall, and vice versa. This constant movement in a cushion lifts and shifts the body in place, so even though one is sitting there is opportunity for better circulation.

Where there is better blood flow, naturally, there is less discomfort. The technology of alternating pressure is not exactly new, as it has been used in hospitals to treat patients with bed sores. This is because alternating pressure keeps the blood moving and the skin healthy, allowing it to breathe. When skin breathes, it maintains a healthy color and elasticity.

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