Spinal cord injury
Nutritional Supplements and Pressure Sores
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Clinical studies are beginning to show that development of pressure sores in hospitalized patients can often be reduced or even prevented by the addition of nutritional supplements to the patient’s diet. This new treatment along with innovative technology such as that found in the latest mattress overlay can hopefully make bedsores a thing of the past. This is welcome news for patients and caretakers alike who deal with the threat of this condition every day.

A study out of Israel observed the results of supplementing bedridden patients with certain fatty acids as well vitamins A, C, and E. The patients were already hospitalized for serious lung injury and were beginning to develop pressure sores. For the purposes of the study, 100 patients were chosen to receive either the standard hospital diet or the standard hospital diet supplemented with fatty acids and the vitamins. At the end of the study, which lasted seven days, the number of ulcers increased to 24 in the group of patients who were receiving the regular diet but only 15 new pressure sores appeared in the group that had had supplements added to their diet.

Vitamin C has long been recognized for its healing effects on the skin, especially as it helps to heal broken capillaries and reduce bruising. Vitamin E has also been touted for having many benefits related to skin health such as prevention of dry skin and slowing of the aging process. Direct application of Vitamin E is also believed by many to greatly reduce the appearance of scar tissue and stretch marks. Vitamin A is used in various forms to alleviate acne symptoms and outbreaks and is also used in many skin creams. With these benefits for skin health already acknowledged in other areas, it only makes sense that the addition of them to a regular diet would help in reducing the occurrence of a skin condition such as pressure sores.

Researchers believe that the reason for the improvement lies in the way that the fatty acids interrupt the inflammatory response that the body naturally sets in motion in response to serious injury. They also concluded from their observations, that data was not significant enough on its own to prove the thesis, but only suggested that it had definite possibilities, and should be analyzed further.
At the present time, there are no official clinical guidelines for administering nutritional supplements as a direct treatment for the prevention of bedsores. Organizations that monitor medical treatment practice will revisit studies such as this one to keep current with any and all ways to improve the quality of treatment for this condition.

Obviously anytime a diet is improved with proper supplements and vitamins, it can only be helpful to a patient’s overall health, and this is basically what can be taken away from studies such as these. Other dietary recommendations that professionals agree should be followed in the treatment of pressure sores include drinking plenty of water and including plenty of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables.

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Rachel Clarkson
Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of “The Volkner Turning Mattress”: http://www.Volkner.com