Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis DermatitisMany older adults find themselves in the unfortunate position of suffering from a condition called stasis dermatitis. This is a serious skin condition that results from poor blood circulation. The most obvious outward signs of the condition are red swellings and marks on the skin of the legs.

It is fair to say that this condition tends to rear its ugly head in the over fifty age group, although it has been known to affect younger people as well, but much more rarely. The condition becomes most common in the very elderly, and the underlying cause of the problem is poor circulation, which eventually leads to fluid gathering under the skin and consequent problems in the skin itself. In the United States, it is thought there are as many as 20 million persons aged fifty and over who are affected by this health condition. Of these, women are slightly more numerous than men.

The risk factors for stasis dermatitis are many, but they are all connected to poor blood circulation. In the first place, ageing itself is a problem as the ageing process is associated with a decline in various body functions, including the efficient circulation of the blood in the body. Then there are certain additional risk factors. These include chronic obesity, an underlying heart condition, kidney problems, high blood pressure, and a lifestyle that has become sedentary.

The physical cause of varicose eczema, to give this condition its alternative name, is the declining efficiency of venous return from the extremities. In other words, blood is not returned efficiently due to the development of varicose veins in the legs. Fluid leaks from the blood capillaries and builds up under the skin, which then causes the problems in the outer layers of the skin.

The symptoms of stasis dermatitis are inflammation of the skin, patches of which become noticeably red and swollen; itching and irritation in the affected areas; a tingling sensation; skin darkening; and painful skin sores that are slow to heal.

The outwards signs of stasis dermatitis sometimes develop slowly, almost unnoticed by the patient. By contrast, in some cases, the condition can appear very quickly indeed. It is very important, however, that patients do not disregard the symptoms and instead seek medical advice from their physicians as a matter of urgency. This is very important for one reason in particular, which is that the condition can sometimes lead to a blood clot in the leg, which can be life threatening.

Treatment of varicose eczema is possible. In the first place, fluid that has built up can be drawn off. Then there are certain things that can be done to treat the condition. These include adopting a sleeping position where the legs are higher up than the heart, and also the wearing of special stockings that compress the legs for the purpose of improving circulation.

Prevention of a further recurrence of stasis dermatitis is a must. Patients are recommended to continue use of the beneficial sleeping position mentioned above. They should also increase their physical activity, by going for regular walks and avoiding sitting down or standing still for too long.

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