What Are Decubitus Ulcers?


Quick Answer

Decubitus ulcers are skin wounds that mainly occur when the skin fails to receive enough blood supply due to prolonged pressure over the area, according to MedlinePlus. Also known as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers may result from malnutrition, conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, conditions that hinder blood supply such as vascular disease, prolonged stays in bed and prolonged wheelchair use. Other possible causes of decubitus ulcers include skin fragility and bowel incontinence.

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Full Answer

Body areas that are more prone to decubitus ulcers include the shoulders, buttocks, hips, elbows and ankles, states MedlinePlus. The back, heels and back of the head are also vulnerable. The ulcers result in red skin and blisters that eventually turn to open sores. Other signs may include odor, pus and skin swelling. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention when the signs and symptoms appear for early diagnosis and treatment to prevent the ulcers from spreading to other body parts.

Treatment of decubitus ulcers may involve eliminating pressure from the affected area using soft materials such as special foam cushions and pillows, adopting proper nutrition to speed up the healing process, and cleaning and treating the ulcers according to a doctor's instructions, says MedlinePlus. Prevention techniques include proper hydration, performing regular physical exercise, eating a calorie-rich diet, maintaining skin cleanliness and dryness, and relieving pressure on the skin by changing body positions at close time intervals.

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