Bed sores are among the most common complications that affect patients who are bedridden or those who use wheelchairs for very long periods of time. It is more common in aged patients although anyone can be affected as long as they are staying in the same position for hours. Also, because most patients have become thin, there is less or no more cushioning by muscles and fats of the cartilaginous or bony areas in the body.
Bed sores are medically termed as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers. Friction and pressure against the surface of the bed or wheelchair are the main reasons why bed sores occur. Still, the condition is aggravated by other factors, including humidity, moisture, and temperature of the surroundings.
Bed Sores Signs
Knowing the causes of bed sores is not enough if the individual wants to make sure that the patient won’t experience them. It is also imperative that one knows of its signs and symptoms so that he or she would know what to look out for.
Here are some of the more common symptoms of bed sores:
- Discoloration of the skin
- Lesions or tearing on the skin, especially on bony areas
- Signs of infection like bad odor, skin moistness, swelling, and formation of pus
The severity of bed sores can actually be diagnosed by four stages.
- Stage 1. The skin could have a red mark that does not go away even when the patient was already turned. The redness can be noticed on the intact skin which could have a firm texture. The mark could also be reddish or bluish in some patients. The affected area may also be hot. When pressed, these reddened skin areas won’t turn white.
- Stage 2. Shallow abrasion at the dermis level. In this stage, there is a slight breaking down of the skin, giving the appearance of blisters or abrasions.
- Stage 3. A hollow wound that may seem smaller at the surface but larger underneath the skin. Extends to the subcutaneous tissue layer.
- Stage 4. Hollow wound larger than in Stage 3 but may still appear to be a small wound at the surface. Extends to the tendons, bones, or muscles. The risk of infection and tissue death is also high during this stage.
- Unstageable. Lots of dead cells so that size is difficult to determine.