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Venous Stasis Dermatitis

Venous Stasis Dermatitis

venous stasis dermatitis patientThe knowledgeable staff at the Vein Care Center in Lima, Celina and Bluffton, Ohio, is committed to providing personalized care which meets the individual needs of every patient who walks through our front door. Our state-of-the-art facility is led by Dr. Manu B. Aggarwal, MHSA, MD. She is a board-certified and aesthetic-laser-certified family physician with a strong expertise in vein care. If you’re in Lima, Celina, Bluffton or the greater Allen, Auglaize, and Hancock County area, please contact us to learn more about our services.

What is venous stasis dermatitis?

Venous stasis dermatitis, also known as venous eczema, varicose eczema or stasis dermatitis, is a long-term skin condition that occurs in the lower legs as a result of poor circulation. This issue most often occurs in older people with circulation problems, chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), congestive heart failure or varicose veins. Rarely, some people, regardless of age, can experience venous stasis dermatitis with no apparent reason or underlying health condition.

What causes venous stasis dermatitis?

For most patients, venous stasis dermatitis is a trickle-down symptom of a more widespread circulation problem that arises from inadequate blood flow. Pressure is created when the valves in a vein stop functioning correctly. The one-directional valves are meant to prevent the blood from flowing downward, and when they work properly, they force blood back up to the heart, thereby generating normal blood flow. If the valves are not functioning correctly, they are unable to push the blood upward. This causes excess blood to pool in the vein, which creates excess pressure in the vein and weakens the vein wall. The compromised vein is unable to manage the excess blood and pressure; thus blood leaks into surrounding tissue. If the pooled blood remains in the leg too long, which is common in patients with circulatory problems, it begins to compromise the skin and can cause venous stasis dermatitis.

What are the signs of venous stasis dermatitis?

Signs of venous stasis dermatitis usually appear in the lower extremities because that is where circulation problems tend to arise. This area is prone to circulation issues because the pressure is greatest in the lower extremities, due to gravity and the fact that humans walk upright. As people age, veins also age and can weaken. Furthermore, an unhealthy lifestyle and certain medical conditions can compromise vein function and negatively impact blood flow.

The signs of venous stasis dermatitis may appear in stages or have a sudden onset. Common symptoms include:

Patients with advanced venous stasis dermatitis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Discolored skin
  • Skin tightness
  • Tender skin
  • Hardened skin (lipodermatosclerosis)
  • Small, white scars
  • Eczema on other parts of the body
  • Pain
  • Skin ulcers

Venous stasis dermatitis can be a sign of underlying circulatory, venous or heart problems. Ignoring symptoms could lead to serious health complications. Further, it is critical that patients with venous stasis dermatitis seek treatment to appropriately manage the condition of their skin to keep the problem from worsening. If left untreated, venous eczema can cause skin ulcers, cellulitis, an infection of the bone or permanent scarring. Once venous stasis dermatitis advances to this level, these conditions can be difficult to treat.

What are the risk factors for venous stasis dermatitis?

Venous stasis dermatitis most often occurs in patients over age 50. It is also slightly more common in women than in men. Other factors that can increase your risk of developing venous stasis dermatitis include:

  • Obesity
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Heart conditions
  • Certain medical conditions that impair circulation
  • Previous DVT in the leg
  • Leg ulcers
  • Cellulitis
  • Varicose veins
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Prior injury to the area

How is venous stasis dermatitis treated?

Treating venous stasis dermatitis is a two-pronged approach that treats your skin condition and addresses any underlying vein or circulatory problems that may exist. Dr. Aggarwal and her experienced staff at the Vein Care Center have the expertise to help improve your skin and treat any underlying circulation issues. To manage your skin condition, Dr. Aggarwal may prescribe corticosteroids or topical calcineurin inhibitors to reduce swelling and inflammation, recommend an antihistamine pill or ointment to alleviate itching and suggest specific emollients to protect and moisturize your skin. You may be instructed to wear a compression garment to improve blood flow, reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Pain medication may also be prescribed to address discomfort. If your venous stasis dermatitis has progressed, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat skin ulcers or cellulitis.

Getting your skin condition under control is only one part of the solution. Dr. Aggarwal will also assess the function of your veins and advise a treatment plan to improve your circulation. The Vein Care Center offers the following cutting-edge vein treatments:

Once your underlying vein disease is treated and circulation improves, oxygen-rich blood will begin the healing process and prevent further skin damage. In addition, there are non-medical, non-invasive things you can do on your own to promote blood circulation and diminish the symptoms of venous stasis dermatitis, including:

  • Don’t sit or stand for long periods
  • Elevate your feet for 15 minutes every two hours
  • When sitting or sleeping, elevate your feet
  • Wear compression garments on your legs
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing to avoid skin irritation
  • Exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Venous stasis dermatitis can cause serious complications and lead to painful skin ulcers. That’s why it is important to be treated by an expert in vein diseases and disorders. For patients in Ohio, Dr. Aggarwal is the clear choice. Let Dr. Aggarwal and her caring, knowledgeable staff at the Vein Care Center provide you with the care you deserve. To schedule an appointment at any one of our locations in Bluffton, Celina or Lima, call us today at 419-227-4472.

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