MANILA -- Unlike common wounds that affect only the surface of the skin, pressure ulcers or bedsores are not usually visible on the skin's surface and are more difficult to treat.
Dr. Efren Capistrano, and head of the Wound Care Center of St. Luke's Medical Center, said bedsores are caused by too much pressure on a specific part of the body. This cuts off circulation of blood, which eventually leads to skin discoloration.
Bedsores commonly affect the elderly, especially those who have limited movement, and people whose illnesses inhibit motion.
Those whose illnesses also cause rapid movements can also be prone to bedsores, as movement can also scratch and irritate the skin.
Bedsores usually appear in bony parts of the body that usually carry a person's weight.
"Kadalasan nagkakaroon ng bedsores sa likod, gitna o gilid ng pigi, at sa likod ng paa," Capistrano said in an interview on DZMM's "Magandang Gabi Dok."
He added that not all bedsores are visible on the surface of the skin, and those with this condition often notice it after it starts to smell or release some fluids.
"Minsan kapag palaging nakahiga o nakatalikod, hindi na nakikita ang actual kung anong nangyayari sa likod," he said. "Nag-uumpisa yan sa simpleng pamumula lang, hindi palaging may sugat. Maaring mamaga tapos mag-iiba ang kulay, maaring mamutla, tapos nangingitim, tapos nagsusugat na."
Capistrano also explained that most patients with bedsores do not feel any pain.
"Hindi siya masakit, lalo kapag ang nagkakasugat ay matanda na, bawas na ang pakiramdam. May sugat na sila, hindi pa nila idinadaing. Madalas nagkakatas na, o may kaunting amoy, bago mapansin na baka may sugat sa likod," he said.
As bedsores are caused by too much pressure and lack of circulation, patients tend to feel numb and unaware that they already have ulcers underneath their skin.
"Ang unang kailangang gawin ay lilinisin ang sugat," Capistrano said. "Lilinisin at tatanggalin yung balat sa ibabaw para mabuksan yung sugat. Pagkatanggal nung balat, doon pa lang makikita ang lalim ng sugat."
He added that sometimes the wound can go deeper than the skin, affecting the layer of fat, muscles and sometimes even the bones.
"Kailangan tanggalin yung nabulok na laman para malinis ang sugat."
Capistrano said they try as much as possible to cure the wound during the first operation. But more often than not, the treatment of bedsores is a lengthy process.
"As much as possible, iniiwasan namin na bumawas ng buto," he said.
The doctor added that healing depends on how big and how deep the wound is. He also encourages the patient's family to be aware of the proper cleaning of bedsores.
He discourages the use of wound cleaning solutions like povidone-iodine and hydrogen peroxide as these tend to "kill" all affected skin and tissues even if they can still be saved.
"Kapag may sugat, isipin mo na may tinatapos kang bahay. Kailangan makarating sa sugat ang materiales," adding that patients suffering from bedsores should eat enough and be well-nourished.
Bedsores can be difficult to cure, and Capistrano said that it is better to just avoid it.
"Ang pressure ay dapat nananatili lang from 2-6 hours. Kapag may pressure na for two hours, minsan namumula na yan. Ang ulcer kahit hindi kaagad magsugat, basta namula pwedeng mangitim o magsugat pa," he said.