More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a vein disease that interferes with circulation and can cause serious side effects, as a result. One of those side effects is venous stasis dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disease that happens when CVI damages the veins in your lower legs.
Both CVI and venous stasis dermatitis can be managed, but the key is seeking treatment as soon as possible. At Desert West Vein & Surgery Center in El Paso, Texas, Atur Kasha, DO, helps patients get the treatment they need to prevent complications associated with CVI and venous stasis dermatitis. Here’s why prompt medical treatment is so important.
Your veins contain tiny valves that open and close in a rapid pattern that helps keep your blood flowing in one direction from your extremities back to your heart and lungs. Sometimes, these tiny valves are damaged and stop working the way they should, interfering with normal circulation and leading to CVI.
When that happens, blood can start to flow backward and “pool up” behind the valves. This is a condition called stasis (which means “standing still”), and it can lead to several serious problems, including the skin condition called venous stasis dermatitis.
Venous stasis dermatitis and CVI are more common among older people, mainly because of years of wear-and-tear on those tiny valves. But they can also happen as a result of trauma, prior surgery, obesity, or other medical conditions that affect circulation, like heart disease, diabetes, or lymphedema.
One of the most common symptoms of venous stasis dermatitis is a change in the color of your skin. When blood pools behind your veins, increasing pressure in your veins causes fluid to leak out. This fluid is primarily composed of iron. Inside your skin, iron causes skin discoloration, ranging from reddish or ruddy to dark maroon or purple, similar to the appearance of a bruise.
Increased pressure also changes your skin’s texture. Over time, your skin can start to feel rough and scaly, becoming more fragile and more prone to cuts and scrapes. Many people find their skin feels itchy, but when they rub it or scratch it, sores can form. These sores might not seem like a big deal, but they’re actually the main compilation associated with venous stasis dermatitis. That means tiny cuts and scratches take a lot longer to heal, significantly increasing your risk of leg wounds.
Fortunately, Dr. Kasha is skilled in treatment options to prevent venous stasis dermatitis and its complications. Typically, treatment focuses on addressing the underlying circulation problem while relieving symptoms and improving skin health, too.
As the largest organ in your body, your skin serves as a barrier to protect the rest of your body from germs and diseases. CVI harms skin by acting from within, damaging veins and leading to stasis dermatitis and other serious skin problems.
If you have skin discoloration, swollen limbs, leg cramps, or other signs of a vein problem, don’t ignore them. Request an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Kasha and the team at Desert West Vein & Surgery Center today, and learn how we can help.