Causes & Risk Factors of Pressure Sores
Also known as pressure ulcers and bedsores, pressure sores can happen when there is friction or unrelieved pressure on one part of the body. The sores can affect any part of the body, but the bony areas around the elbows, knees, heels, coccyx, and ankles are more susceptible.
Pressure sores are treatable, but, if treatment comes too late, they can lead to significant complications.
Causes of Pressure Sores
Anyone who stays in one place for a long time and who cannot change position without help is at risk of developing pressure sores. The ulcers can develop and progress rapidly, and they can be difficult to heal.
Sustained pressure can cut off circulation to vulnerable parts of the body. Without an adequate supply of blood, body tissues can die.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a sore can develop if blood supply is cut off for more than 2 to 3 hours.
Pressure ulcers are usually caused by:
- Continuous pressure: If there is pressure on the skin on one side, and bone on the other, the skin and underlying tissue may not receive an adequate blood supply.
- Friction: For some patients, especially those with thin, frail skin and poor circulation, turning and moving may damage the skin, raising the risk of bedsores.
- Shear: If the skin moves one way while the underlying bone moves in the opposite direction, there is a risk of shearing. Cell walls and minute blood vessels may stretch and tear.
Pressure Sore Risk Factors
Pressure sores are uncommon to experience if you are in good overall health. However, if you have certain conditions or lifestyle factors, your risk may be much greater.
Here are some factors that increase risk for pressure sores:
- Older age as skin gets thinner and more vulnerable with age
- Reduced pain perception, due, for example, to a spinal cord or other injury, as you may not notice the sore
- Poor blood circulation, due to diabetes, vascular diseases, smoking, and compression
- Poor diet, especially with a lack of protein, vitamin C, and zinc
- Reduced mental awareness, due to a disease, injury, or medication, can reduce the patient’s ability to take preventive action
- Incontinence of urine or feces can cause areas of permanently moist skin, increasing the risk of skin breakdown and damage
- A low or high body mass index (BMI) increases the risk
At Aquila, we provide automatic alternating cushions that change pressure distribution up to 60 times per hour. These cushions are carefully engineered to create the ideal environment to prevent and treat pressure ulcers. Each cushion we build is made with the individual client’s needs guiding us. Wondering if Aquila wheelchair cushions are right for you? Contact us today to see how we can help you.