Bedridden patients who spend much of their day lying in bed are at risk of developing medical conditions associated with poor circulation.
Our circulatory system works best when we’re upright and moving. When we spend many hours lying down, blood pools in the legs, lower volumes of blood are pumped through the body even though the heart works harder, oxygen uptake is reduced, and the risk of blood clots is increased, particularly in the legs and lungs.
In addition to the circulation problems caused by spending a lot of time lying down in bed, many health conditions cause circulation problems or make them worse. Diabetes, arterial constrictions, obesity, and heart disease often lead to poor circulation, particularly at the extremities.
Poor circulation while sleeping is responsible for a variety of undesirable outcomes, ranging from mild discomfort and numbness to swelling (edema), muscle cramps, and pain in the hands and feet. Poor circulation inhibits the healing of injuries and fosters the development of more severe symptoms such as foot ulcers, which, at worst, may require the amputation of the affected foot.
It’s essential to take steps to reduce discomfort and the likelihood of serious complications caused by poor circulation during sleep or if you spend long periods in bed. A home hospital bed with a suitable mattress makes it easier for you to manage the risk, reduce the likelihood of serious complications, and be more comfortable while you’re in bed.
Choose A Position That Helps Your Heart
Your sleep position affects the ease with which your heart pumps blood to extremities and throughout your body. If you find yourself waking with numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, a simple change of sleeping position might be enough to alleviate the minor symptoms of bad circulation.
The ideal sleeping position has the spine properly aligned and doesn’t put pressure on your limbs. If you’re a side sleeper, be sure to use pillows of sufficient height and firmness to keep your neck straight. Lying on your right side can reduce blood flow by constricting the vessels through which blood returns to your heart, so try sleeping on your left side.
You may find it challenging to align your arms for optimal blood flow when you sleep on your side, especially if you place an arm under your head for support. This compresses the arm and the shoulder and is a common cause of numbness and pain. Try sleeping on your back so that all of your limbs are positioned for optimal blood flow.
It should be noted that there are positive and negative consequences of sleeping on both sides of your body and sleeping on your back. All positions have an impact on the position of your internal organs, and which position is better for your health depends on your condition. If you are unsure, consult a medical professional about the best sleeping position for you.
A home hospital bed mattress can help you to maintain a comfortable and circulation-friendly position. The Supernal Sleep System uses progressive laminated foam or memory foam that conforms to the shape of your body while offering better support than standard mattresses.
For patients with persistent and dangerous circulation-related symptoms, a pressure-relief mattress such as the PressureGuard CFT Mattress is engineered to alleviate circulation issues. Its self-adjusting air cylinders help patients to maintain a better position in bed. Pressure-relief also aids the healing of the symptoms of poor circulation, including pressure sores.
Elevate the Legs
When a patient spends long periods in bed, blood tends to pool in their legs, causing cramps, numbness, and contributing to the formation of bedsores. As we mentioned earlier, persistent poor circulation in legs can lead to amputation.
Elevating the legs above the heart reduces pooling. Gravity assists with the proper flow of blood, allowing it to more easily return to the heart for recirculation and reducing the strain put on the heart.
A home hospital bed can help with leg elevation in a couple of ways. The leg adjustment of a bed can raise the legs above the heart. Beds fitted with a tilting adjustment—also known as a Trendelenburg adjustment—can tilt the entire surface of the bed up at the feet and down at the head. The Trendelenburg Position is often used with patients who have low blood pressure and circulatory issues.
Finally, beds such as the Supernal 5 with its five-way adjustments can be configured into the Cardiac Chair Position, which raises both the head and feet to promote better circulation and reduce strain on the heart and the lungs. The home hospital bed capable of the Cardiac Chair Position is an excellent solution for patients who would otherwise spend extended periods lying down.
Poor circulation and the conditions caused by poor circulation are a persistent risk for patients who are bedridden, who suffer from obesity, and those with conditions such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, Raynaud’s disease, and more. A home hospital bed with a well-engineered mattress helps patients manage the symptoms of poor circulation and reduce complications and discomfort.