7 Important Facts about Bed Sores

Bed sores are areas of red or broken skin that occur when the body presses against a firm surface, such as a bed, for an extended period of time. Also called pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers, bed sores are a visible sign that restricted blood flow has caused damaged to the muscle and tissue lying under the skin’s surface. Damage to muscle and tissue is a result of restricted blood flow caused by pressure, friction or shear. The sore may begin as a small red spot that doesn’t disappear over time, but even a small red spot can indicate advanced cases with significant underlying damage.

Usually, symptoms worsen quickly without treatment and may include drainage and warmth at the site. While bed sores can occur on any area of the body, they are most commonly found on pressure points. Pressure points are areas of the body that absorb weight while sitting or lying down. People who are bedridden often have pressure ulcers on areas like the hips, lower back and shoulders, while people confined to a wheelchair may have ulcers on their buttocks and feet. Although bed sores can appear at any age, some people are more at-risk than others.

Who Suffers From Bed Sores

The risk factors commonly associated with pressure ulcers are aging and significantly restricted mobility. For instance, seniors over the age of 85 who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair have the greatest risk of bed sores. Incontinence and other sources of moisture, such as excessive sweating, are also causes of bed sores. Other risk factors include malnutrition, poor circulation, decreased skin sensitivity and inability to move without help. People who need help moving are also more susceptible to developing bed sores caused by friction and shear than others. When a caregiver lifts or moves someone, the skin and connected blood vessels can become misshapen. The misshapen blood vessels don’t circulate blood effectively, resulting in poor circulation and cell death in the affected area. If you suspect you have a bed sore, you should begin following a treatment plan immediately.