How can nutrition and hydration help in preventing pressure ulcers?

Good nutritional intake and hydration are vital to an individual's overall health, including skin integrity and the prevention of pressure ulcers. Good nutritional intake and hydration also ensure that individuals do not experience weight loss and a decrease in muscle mass, which results in an increased risk for developing pressure ulcers.

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Good nutrition is crucial for overall health, including skin integrity and the prevention of pressure ulcers. Over 3 million patients are treated for pressure ulcers in healthcare facilities throughout the United States each year. Recent statistics show that between 20% and 50% of these patients are malnourished and dehydrated at the time of hospital admission, which significantly contributes to skin breakdown and the formation of pressure ulcers. Malnutrition is associated with an increased occurrence of pressure ulcers and higher infection rates.

Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and water all play a significant role in supporting skin integrity and preventing skin breakdown. A decrease in nutrient intake can result in a decrease in body weight and muscle mass, which increase the chances of skin breakdown. Furthermore, illnesses and other risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, malignancy, prolonged pressure on a particular area of the body, being 70 years of age or older, smoking, and incontinence can also result in a higher occurrence of pressure ulcers.

Individuals who at a greater risk of developing pressure ulcers should strive to maintain the recommended nutritional intake. Addressing nutrition needs is critical in the healing of pressure ulcers due nutrition's vital role in ensuring skin integrity.

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