What causes pressure ulcers or bed sores? Current general belief is that pressure, shear, friction and humidity contribute to forming the ulcers, with pressure likely being the primary contributor. How do we prevent and treat ulcers? We have to eliminate or minimize the contributing factors, especially pressure.
The amounts of time & pressure are important factors to consider when understanding pressure ulcers. The higher the pressure, the shorter the time a body can withstand it before an ulcer forms. It’s a bit like passing your finger through a candle flame. There is no pain if the finger is quickly passed through the flame, but the finger may burn if it’s passed through the flame at slow speeds.
How do we reduce pressure? As demonstrated by the picture on the left, the simplest solution is to increase the actual area that provides the support.
Current specialty mattresses and other support surfaces are 2 dimensional, but our bodies, for the most part, are 3 dimensional. One of the reasons a large, growing, pumpkin starts get a "flat" area is because it is trying to increase its actual surface area that will contact the ground to support its increasing weight. For the growing pumpkin, if it were on a support surface that changed its shape to support the growing pumpkin, it would not develop that flat area as it grew. Our bodies need a 3D support surface that automatically adjusts its support shapes to to our movements to increase the supporting area and lower pressures.
Just as a finger must quickly pass through a candle flame to prevent burns, people need low pressures to prevent and treat bed sores. A self adjusting 3D pressure relieving support system will increase the actual support area, lower pressures and provide people with more time to prevent and help treat bed sores.
[Image Sources - oandplibrary.org and interactives.co.uk]