What Dermatitis on the Lower Legs May be Telling You
When we hear the term “dermatitis,” we think about the skin. When we think about a condition on the skin, we may not immediately relate it to a vein problem. One of the fascinating, and also complex, matters of the human body is that there is an interconnection between all parts. This can create challenges in understanding the underlying factors of issues such as stasis dermatitis. Here, we want to discuss how this skin condition is related to the veins.
Venous Stasis Dermatitis: What and Why
Stasis dermatitis is often described as a type of eczema. A primary factor in the development of symptoms, however, is venous insufficiency. Blood needs to flow down into the legs and feet, and also back up from those places farthest away from the heart. A compromise in this flow eventually weakens the veins in the lower extremities. Blood may pool in these structures, as well as the leak from them. When this occurs, a person may develop:
- Patches of itchy, dry, irritated skin, especially over varicose veins.
- Swelling in the lower extremities that are worse at night and less pronounced in the morning.
- Aching or a sensation of heaviness in the legs after prolonged standing.
- Patches of skin that appears red and swollen or crusty. These patches may also be painful and may weep like a wound.
These are the early indicators of a potentially serious venous insufficiency. Treatment is required to slow or halt the progression of dermatitis. If the veins are not managed or properly treated, the dermatologic symptoms are likely to worsen. Open sores may form and crust over, and this may lead to more serious problems due to the presence of bacteria on the skin. When the skin cracks, bacteria permeate the surface. This can lead to cellulitis, a condition in which the superficial and deep tissues of the body are affected by serious infection.
There are several proposed methods of managing stasis dermatitis. All of them have merit. Early management may include compression therapy in the form of socks or stockings. Wearing compression garments decreases the pressure on veins, but it does not heal them. Professional vein treatment is usually necessary to achieve optimal and long-lasting improvement.
To learn more about venous stasis dermatitis and venous insufficiency, call our Dallas office at (972) 566-3040.