Venous Stasis Dermatitis

Venous Stasis DermatitisIt is fair to say that venous stasis dermatitis is one of the most awkward and distressing conditions affecting many older persons. Unfortunately, many sufferers do not realize that it is possible to treat and alleviate the condition, but instead continue to suffer in silence.

As people age, various physical functions start to decline, and one of these is the efficient circulation of the blood around the body. Particularly at the extremities, problems can begin to develop with advancing age. With an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and exacerbated by obesity and high blood pressure, venous stasis dermatitis starts to become a problem for some people after the age of about fifty. As time progresses, the complaint can become a scourge of those of more advanced age.

Stasis dermatitis results from fluid building up beneath the skin due to circulatory problems in the legs, often associated with varicose veins. These are veins that have become inefficient in passing blood through them in the normal way. Fluid leaks from these veins and begins to accumulate under the skin. This in turn leads to problems in the skin itself.

The symptoms of venous stasis dermatitis show themselves in the form of sores and red marks and swellings on the surface of the skin of the legs. These visible signs usually start in the vicinity of the ankles, but then spread upwards as the condition worsens. The sores can be painful and slow to heal. Patients may experience bothersome itching and tingling. As already mentioned, many sufferers from this complaint allow it to progress without seeking medical treatment. Apart from putting themselves through unnecessary physical discomfort and pain, patients who avoid medical treatment could be putting themselves in danger as the complaint can sometimes worsen to the extent of blood clots forming in the legs. For this reason, it is advisable to seek medical advice as soon as the symptoms of stasis dermatitis are spotted.

Physicians can treat an advanced case of stasis dermatitis by taking steps to immediately drain accumulated fluid from the patient’s legs. Persistent sores can be cleared through prescriptions of antibiotics and/or application of a topical steroid cream. Regular use of moisturizer is also recommended to alleviate itching and tingling.

Aside from treating the immediate symptoms of venous stasis dermatitis, it is important to take steps to prevent the condition recurring. In the first instance, the tendency to a sedentary lifestyle must be combated. Where possible, patients should get out of the habit of standing or sitting for long periods and instead take up regular light exercise, such as going for walks every day. This will have the effect of improving blood circulation in the legs. In addition, the wearing of compression stockings can have a beneficial effect on blood circulation. A further measure that can be very helpful is to adopt a different sleeping position. Sleeping with one’s feet up on a cushion puts one’s legs in a higher place than the heart and therefore allows gravity to come to the assistance of blood circulation.

It is important for those who experience venous stasis dermatitis to understand that this is a condition that can be treated successfully. While it is not possible to turn the clock back, in terms of blood circulation in the ageing body, the effects of this distressing complaint can largely be alleviated provided the right steps are taken in a timely manner.

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