How can nutrition and hydration prevent pressure injuries or ulcers? 

Proper nutrition and hydration can prevent pressure injuries and ulcers by providing essential nutrients and adequate fluid intake in order to strengthen skin and heal wounds. If the wound-healing process is delayed, the body may enter a state of chronic inflammation, malnutrition, and dehydration, all of which lead to a much higher risk for pressure injuries or ulcers.

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Pressure ulcers and injuries are categorized as chronic wounds and are therefore dramatically impacted by nutrition. The risk of pressure ulcers increases when nutrition is compromised, whether that be due to unhealthy weight loss, malnutrition, or a lack of necessary macronutrients and micronutrients. Malnutrition causes wounds to heal slowly and poorly, which can lead to chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers. Then, if those ulcers heal too slowly, the body can enter a state of chronic inflammation, which actually contributes to further malnutrition and dehydration.

There are three wound-healing phases: inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling. These phases needs a combination of many essential nutrients, such as Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as Iron, Zinc, Protein, Manganese, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Copper. Without these nutrients, the wound-healing process will slow and further exacerbate the pressure ulcers and the malnutrition itself.

Hydration is also important for preventing pressure ulcers. The body needs fluid to strengthen the skin and deliver nutrients and oxygen to all tissues, and hydration is especially important when wounds are healing. Unfortunately, pressure ulcers can also directly lead to dehydration because wounds can cause high temperatures, vomiting, diarrhea, and other methods of fluid loss. Those with pressure ulcers and injuries must make sure they are more nourished and hydrated than usual.

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