When Dermatitis Isn’t About Your Skin
- Posted on: Sep 15 2017
Dermatitis is typically a term that we hear when discussing some dermatologic concern. For example, eczema, a chronic skin irritation, is a type of dermatitis. This scientific term is frequently used to describe a variety of conditions that cause inflammation of the skin. For this reason, it is possible that dermatitis on the lower legs and feet could be mistaken for something it’s not. There aren’t many people who would look at such an issue and quickly think of vein health. We do. Here’s why.
Venous Stasis Dermatitis is a Vein Issue, Not a Skin Issue
By itself, stasis dermatitis is usually categorized as a type of eczema. However, behind many cases of stasis dermatitis, we see an underlying problem with the veins. Venous insufficiency is a potentially serious condition in which the vessels located on the lower extremities become progressively weaker. This degradation in vein health stems from the accumulation of blood. Blood pools in parts of the vein when the valves that assist upward flow stop functioning at maximum capacity.
Common Symptoms of Poor Vein Health
Indications of venous insufficiency are typically thought to be visible, like varicose veins. Additionally, the poor health of veins in the lower extremities may cause symptoms such as:
- Dry, itchy patches of skin, typically found over varicose veins.
- Nighttime swelling in the legs and feet. Edema improves with elevation.
- A heavy or aching sensation after standing for a long period.
- Swollen or red patches of skin on the lower extremities. These areas may also appear as a weeping or crusted wound.
One of the reasons that symptoms such as these can be confusing is because venous insufficiency isn’t always something you see. When varicose veins are obvious, those ropy bulges beneath the skin, aching, and skin inflammation make more sense. Without the evidence of varicose veins, though, symptoms may appear much more benign than they are.
Venous stasis dermatitis could be a precursor to other, more serious concerns, including cellulitis, a pervasive infection that may quickly spread through skin and tissue. Cellulitis may stem from a minute number of bacteria entering the skin through a crack in a dermatologic condition. For this reason, it is crucial to obtain medical care if skin on the lower extremities shows signs of poor blood flow.
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Posted in: Venous Stasis Dermatitis