The Severity Of Dermal Ulcers
A dermal ulcer is a sore that develops on the skin followed by destruction of the tissue surrounding it. Tissue destruction leads to complete loss of skin; the size and depth of the ulcer depends on the severity of what exactly is causing it. Dermal ulcers are more common on the skin of the arms and legs.
Your first inclination of any compromised skin areas should come if you notice an area where the skin has an increase in redness and warmth, as compared to the skin around it. This should warrant immediate medical attention to determine any possible underlying causes in order to reduce your chances for more complications or recurring skin issues. Keep in mind also that serious complications, such as infection of the bone or blood, may occur if the dermal ulcer progresses without treatment.
Frequently dermal ulcers are caused by prolonged pressure on your tissues, problems with blood circulation and irritation, and/or lack of mobility. Therefore, there are individual situations that create more of a risk for development of dermal ulcers, including:
- Being elderly
- Those who are bedridden
- Wheelchair bound
- Neurological deficits
- Hospital bound with an acute illness
- Those with an increase risk for ulcers such as those with diabetes mellitus
Depending upon the extent to which you are affected will determine the stage of your dermal ulcer and the treatment that will be implemented to relieve your discomfort and work to resolve your ulcer. Once diagnosed with a dermal ulcer, it will be staged according to the appearance of the skin and how much of your tissue is lost, the stages include:
- Stage 1
• Wounds are NOT open. Despite the skin being painful, there will be NO breaks or tears.
• Skin will appear red and will NOT blanch (lose color briefly if you apply pressure with your finger…it will stay red).
• If an individual is darker-skinned, the area may appear to be a different color than the surrounding skin…but it may not look red.
• The skin will also feel warmer to touch than the surrounding areas.
• Area may feel either more firm or softer than the surrounding areas.
- Stage 2
• Wound is now open. The skin breaks open, wears away, or forms an ulcer.
• This will be tender and painful.
• Area now expands deeper into the tissues of the skin.
• Will appear as a scrape, blister, or even a shallow crater in the skin.
• Some skin may be damaged beyond repair and may die off.
- Stage 3
• Ulcer continues to worsen and extends further into the tissues.
• A crater in the skin will definitely be noticed here.
• Fatty tissue may also be noticed.
• NO muscle, tendon, or bone will be exposed at this stage.
• May be little to no pain due to significant tissue damage.
- Stage 4
• Ulcer is very deep, reaching down into muscles and bones.
• Results in extensive damage and long, complicated processes for healing…if damage can even be reversed.
• Damage may occur to deep tissues, tendons and even joints.
• May be little to no pain due to significant tissue damage.
Your doctor will diagnose your dermal ulcer according to the criteria above to develop a treatment plan for you to cope in your day to day life. The main goals of treatment for dermal ulcers are aimed at avoiding any possible infection that could occur, maintaining an overall moist environment for healing, and easing any pain.
Lantiseptic Skin Protectant – Original Ointment –
Lantiseptic Skin Protectant is a unique high-lanolin emollient ointment intended to protect chafed or ulcer-prone skin, promote the healing of skin injuries and serve as a first aid treatment. It is formulated to encourage the proper moisture balance of the skin, thereby supporting the body’s natural healing processes.
Med Aire Variable Pressure Pump and Bed Pad
The Med Aire Variable Pressure Pump and Pad is made for distributing pressure points helps alleviate bed sores and other discomforts associated with constant pressure on the skin. This pad measure 78″ x 34″ and features a whisper quiet pump. It can safely support anyone up to 250 pounds and do wonders to increase circulation and reduce the incidence of decubitus ulcers. Comes in either standard or deluxe. Standard lays on top of your mattress, deluxe has flaps that help hold the pad securely in place.
MEPILEX Border Self Adherent Foam Dressing
Mepilex Border is an all-in-one foam dressing that effectively absorbs and retains exudate and maintains a moist wound environment. The Safetac layer seals the wound edges, preventing the exudate from leaking onto the surrounding skin, thus minimizing the risk for maceration. The Safetac layer ensures that the dressing can be changed without damaging the wound or surrounding skin or exposing the patient to additional pain.
In order for a dermal ulcer to heal properly, any dead tissue needs to be removed first. Then it is essential to keep the area clean to prevent any infection. Prevention of infection and pain can be managed with several different medications such as antibiotics, muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Advil, and Motrin for example.
You can take it upon yourself to decrease your risk of developing a dermal ulcer, which you should definitely try first to avoid more invasive and costly measures. To decrease your chance of developing a dermal ulcer you can:
- Reposition yourself frequently to enhance blood flow and reduce the amount of pressure that is being put on certain skin areas. Do your best to avoid being in the same position for too long. Take breaks, move around often and reposition yourself when lying in bed.
- Using special cushions can also help. There are special pads, mattresses and hospital beds alike that can prove to relieve pressure either on good skin or those areas that already have a dermal ulcer present. Their goal is to protect your vulnerable skin from any possible damage.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Healthy diet habits can keep you at a healthy weight and decrease your risk for more chronic conditions that could lead to inadequate circulation and formation of dermal ulcers. Good exercise regimens can keep your blood flowing and help you also maintain an optimal weight.
Ultimately, dermal ulcers can range from being very minor to causing several complications. You know your body the best, so at the first sign of your skin showing an abnormality do not hesitate to consult with your provider just to be safe. The quicker you start treating your dermal ulcer, the quicker the healing time and the better the chance you will have at avoiding complications.
Since 1997 Allegro Medical has been a leading supplier of dermal ulcers supplies to healthcare providers and consumers. If you are recently experiencing symptoms of dermal ulcers, rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your dermal ulcers needs.