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Symptoms and Causes of Pressure Ulcers

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Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, develop on the skin that experiences prolonged pressure. They usually develop on the spine, hips, ankles, tailbone, and heels. The most at risk of pressure ulcers are people who have a medical condition or physical disability that prevents them from changing positions and, sometimes, the elderly as well.

Some common symptoms of pressure ulcers include swelling, having areas of the skin that feels tender, warmer, and cooler than other areas, changes in skin texture or color, and pus-like draining. There are several stages to pressure ulcers depending on the depth and severity.

The primary cause of bedsores is constant pressure. This lessens the flow of blood to the tissues. Without the nutrients and oxygen delivered by the blood flow, your skin gets damaged and the nearby tissues may die.

Another cause of pressure ulcers is friction. This happens when your skin rubs against the bedding or your clothing. Friction can make skin that is already fragile, more prone to injury. One other cause is shear, which is often interchanged with friction. Shear happens when your skin stays in place while your body moves in the opposite direction.

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