Stasis dermatitis happens when blood flow in the lower legs becomes compromised, and the valves in the veins weaken, causing a leakage of blood into body tissues.
This is called venous insufficiency, and it can cause the symptoms of stasis dermatitis to develop.At first, symptoms will affect the ankles. There may be:
- Heavy or aching legs when standing for a prolonged period
- Swelling that appears toward the end of the day and lessens after sleeping overnight
- Varicose veins covered with dry, itchy, or irritated skin
- Red, swollen, and painful skin, which may be weeping and crusty
The skin becomes scaly with sores that weep and crust. Bacterial infection may develop, and the skin color changes. As the sores heal, they form scabs and scars. In some people, eczema may affect other parts of the body. Untreated, the condition can gradually worsen. This can lead to:
- Hard areas of thickened, fibrotic skin
- Shrinking of the lower part of the leg
- Deeply pigmented skin
- Red and scaly skin in the affected area
- Intense itching in the skin Further complications can then arise.
The cracks and poor skin conditions make it possible for a bacterial infection to enter the skin. Cellulitis can develop and spread through the leg. Cellulitis is a serious infection that affects the deeper body tissues. The effect of stasis dermatitis on the skin, together with the application of different medications, can cause it to become extremely sensitive and painful to touch. This is known as contact dermatitis. Causes and risk factors These circulatory problems can lead to blood leakage and cell death and can develop into stasis dermatitis.
At increased risk are those who have, or have had:
- Venous insufficiency
- Varicose veins
- High blood pressure or a heart condition
- A blood clot, for example, deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Surgery to the area
Treatment– Treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms.
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