Q:

What are some causes of pressure sores in the elderly?

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Quick Answer

Causes of pressure sores in the elderly include sustained pressure on a bed or wheelchair and friction caused by shifting or changing positions, according to Mayo Clinic. Pressure sores can also be the result of shear, which occurs when the skin drags against a surface such as a bed. Shear may develop on tilted or elevated beds.

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Full Answer

Elderly people generally have skin that is thinner, drier, more fragile and less elastic than younger people, increasing the likelihood of developing pressure sores, notes Mayo Clinic. Elderly people produce new skin cells at a slower pace, which also contributes to pressure sores.

Pressures sores may occur when skin and tissues become trapped between a bone and a surface such as a wheelchair or bed, explains Mayo Clinic. When this happens, the pressure may prevent capillaries from delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to the tissues, causing tissues and skin cells to die.

Skin that is moist or exceptionally dry is more likely to develop pressure sores. Other factors that may contribute to pressure sores include poor nutrition, dehydration, weight and medical conditions that affect blood flow. A lack of sensory perception, bowel incontinence, smoking and muscle spasms may also increase the risk of developing pressure sores, reports Mayo Clinic.

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