Bed Sore Risk Factors


Pressure sores can develop anytime a person experiences limited mobility, which is being unable to easily change your position while seated or lying down.  A person’s mobility can be limited because of their general poor health, illness, injury, or sedation.  Without proper preventative measures, even those experiencing limited mobility for a short time, such as after an operation or accident, are susceptible to developing pressure sores.



A number of other factors have been identified which put individuals at a higher risk for developing pressure sores.  While risk factors may vary depending upon the particular circumstances, the following represents a list of the most common:

  • AGE - As we age, the skin loses its elasticity, thins, and becomes drier and more fragile than in our youth.  These conditions can lead to the skin breaking down much easier under pressure.
  • DECREASED MENTAL AWARENESS - An individual with decreased mental awareness may not have the level of sensory perception or ability to act to prevent the development of a pressure-induced injury.  The decrease in mental awareness could be induced by disease, trauma, or medications.
  • POOR NUTRITION OR DEHYDRATION  - Diet and nutrition are important factors in keeping the skin healthy.  You are more likely to develop pressure sores when your diet is lacking in the proper fluids, calories, vitamins and minerals.
  • LOSS OF BOWEL OR BLADDER CONTROL - Sources of moisture on the skin from urine, stool, or perspiration can irritate the skin and thus lead to its breakdown.
  • WEIGHT LOSS / MUSCLE ATROPHY - The loss of fat & muscle during a prolonged illness can lead to the development of pressure sores because of the loss of ‘cushion’ between the bone and an external pressure such as a mattress or seat.
  • MEDICAL CONDITIONS AFFECTING CIRCULATION - Diseases such as diabetes or vascular disease that restrict the blood flow and cause inadequate blood supply to all areas of the body can put a person at higher risk for pressure sore development.