With the increasing stress in work and environment, people would always take the chance to take some bed rest and some may even lie on the bed for prolonged periods. The elderly for that matter may become bed ridden especially so if they suffer from various illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Bed rest may be good because it allows the body to reduce energy and oxygen demands; thereby helping the body recuperate from any injury or fatigue; however, too much bed rest can also be bad.
Bed rest is a need, but lying on the bed for prolonged periods other than the required sleep at night may cause various health effects such as:
• Promotes urinary stasis
When you don’t perform regular activities or confined in the bed longer, your urine tends to remain static in the bladder. Regular activity allows the bladder to contract and relax normally; thereby promoting an efficient urination. However, when you undertake a more sedentary lifestyle, your bladder losses some of its bladder tone contributing to decreased urination. When the urine remains on the bladder, it promotes growth of bacteria and yeast that may lead to urinary tract infection. Also, the urine from the kidneys and ureters may remain there because of inability to flow to the full bladder contributing to upper urinary tract infection, and subsequently, kidney disease.
• Makes the bone porous
Activity is also essential for the health of the bones. When you remain bed-ridden, the calcium in the bones escapes in the blood contributing to osteoporosis or porous bones. When the bones become porous, it may increase the risk for pathologic fractures and other skeletal problems such as kyphosis. The calcium that escapes the bones may also be drained in the kidneys contributing to stone formation as the urine also becomes static.
• Contributes to weight gaining
The less energy you burn, the more calories are stored in your body as fat as too much bed rest prevents the food to be burned as fuel everyday activities.
• Contributes to poor circulation
Too much bed rest may also contribute to poor circulation especially on the areas of the body that comes in contact with the bed or the bony prominences. Poor circulation may contribute to sluggish blood flow that may lead to abnormal blood clots. These blood clots when dislodged may lead to stroke or heart attack when they lodge in the small blood vessels in the heart and brain.
• Leads to pressure sores
Too much bed rest may also cause pressure sores in the bony prominences that come in contact with the surface of the bed or other parts of the body. Pressure sores are most evident in bed-ridden patients because the prolonged friction may lead to poor circulation in the area and subsequently, tissue damage.
• Contributes to depression
According to studies, too much bed rest may contribute to the development of psychological and mood disorders such as depression because the brain is unable to produce adequate amounts of mood-promoting neurotransmitters
These effects of too much bed rest may cause more harmful effects to the body as compared to the benefits it gives. In this line, people should undertake balanced rest and activities and ensure a more active lifestyle during the day.