Skin Changes / Dermatitis
A common sign of vein disease is a darkening of the skin in the lower leg, or venous stasis dermatitis. The skin might appear red, brown, shiny or irritated. It may even appear to have a rash that is very difficult to heal. It is commonly misdiagnosed as a dermatological condition and people who suffer with it often go years without knowing that it is actually underlying vein disease that is causing the problem.
Skin changes in the lower legs may be a sign of vein disease whether or not any visible varicose veins are present. These skin changes are often a sign of advanced disease that is at high risk for progression to an open wound or ulceration.
What are the signs of Venous Stasis Dermatitis?
- Feelings of heaviness, tiredness, achiness, restlessness
- Thinner skin in lower region of the leg (especially near ankles)
- Itchy, dry, cracked, scaly skin
- Skin discoloration
- Swollen, weepy or crusted areas
- Thickened, leather-like appearance (in more advanced stages)
What Causes Skin Changes?
As vein disease progresses, blood becomes trapped in the lower leg and pressure begins to build inside the vein. This elevated pressure can cause the vein to leak fluid and blood cells into surrounding tissue. When this happens, red blood cells come apart and the iron inside of them “stains” the skin.
The skin often becomes discolored and itchy, which leads to scratching of the area and subsequent skin deterioration. The skin can also become cracked, swollen, weepy or crusted. Skin changes often start around the ankles and progressively move up the leg as the pressure in the veins continues to increase.
What Are Treatment Options for Skin Changes?
Once the diseased veins have been treated, fresh, oxygenated blood can be delivered to the areas that suffered from years of poor venous circulation. This “new blood” prevents further progression of discoloration and gradually helps repair damaged tissue.
If you have noticed skin changes or dark areas of skin, especially around the ankles, call today to schedule your consultation with us at Hamilton Vein Center. Our vein specialists will perform an ultrasound to determine if the skin changes are due to underlying vein disease. We are dedicated to our patients and the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease with vein clinics in Houston including Sugar Land, Bellaire, Kingwood, Katy, Clear Lake, The Woodlands, Lake Jackson, and Willowbrook. In Austin, we are located in Round Rock and South Austin.
Examples of Skin Changes from Vein Disease / Venous Stasis Dermatitis
See our “Vein Treatments” tab to learn about the vein treatments we recommend and offer at Hamilton Vein Center.
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