A person may be required to remain in bed and immobile while recuperating from a certain injury or illness. Suddenly losing the freedom of movement does not only affect the emotional state of a person, but it can also affect the body. Remaining immobile for a long period affects each body system differently.
The Effects of Immobility on Body Systems
The areas of the body that are most affected by inactivity are the muscles and skeletal system. Muscles weaken and deteriorate when they are not used. The muscles are also shortened and they lose their flexibility when not in constant use. Immobility also cuts the amount of calcium that bones absorb, causing the density of the bones to decline.
Inactivity also affects the cardiovascular system, which transports blood through the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Being immobile forces the heart to work harder in order to function. A person who is immobile also carries a higher risk of developing a blood clot, which may hinder vital operations in the body. Blood circulation also slows down due to inactivity.
Lack of movement also may also cause fluid to build up in your lungs because the muscles are not doing their job of eliminating excess fluid from your body. You will also find difficulty in taking a deep breath, even a normal breath. This results in some parts of your lungs no longer being used.
Your nervous, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and integumentary systems, as well as your metabolism, are also affected by being laid up in bed for long periods of time.
How Immobility Equipment Reduces the Effects of Immobility on the Body
You can lessen the effect of immobility on your body systems with the use of mobility aids. These are devices that are designed to help a person move from one place to another in case they cannot do so without assistance because of an illness or injury.
For example, wheelchairs, motorised scooters and walkers are mobility aids for helping people walk or take a seat or stand from a seating position without aid. Even a little movement will prevent your body systems from deteriorating or completely shutting down. Aside from facilitating physical movement, mobility aids prevent people with mobility issues from feeling helpless and totally useless.
Manually operated wheelchairs are generally ideal for people recuperating from a leg injury. These are physically moved forward, so the user gets plenty of arm exercise in the process. Walking aids or walkers offer support to patients without balance or strength to walk about. Walkers are pushed along the floor or picked up and moved forward. Operating these aids require certain movements from the user, preventing them from becoming totally inert and slowly wasting away.