Stasis dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin caused due to blood congestion under the skin, which is often attributed to poor blood circulation. While this condition can affect individuals of any age, including teenagers, the condition usually affects individuals over the age of 40 years.
Estimates suggest that the condition affects over 15-20 million individuals in the United States, with a slightly higher prevalence in females compared to their male counter parts.
What Are The Causes Of Stasis Dermatitis?
Stasis dermatitis onset can either be sudden or may develop over a prolonged period of time. Depending upon the onset of the dermatitis, the causative factors may vary. Here are some common causes associated with stasis dermatitis,
- Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is considered to be a leading cause for sudden onset of stasis dermatitis. This condition usually affects the lower extremities.
- Stasis dermatitis over a prolonged period of time occurs due to inefficient venous drainage at the site which may be attributed to a host of factors ranging from blood clots to poor heart condition ( i.e. Congestive cardiac failure).
- Obesity also increases the risk of development of stasis dermatitis.
- Varicose veins and hypertension may also contribute to the onset of stasis dermatitis on the skin.
- Kidney failure, resulting in excessive accumulation of fluid within the body can also result in stasis dermatitis.
Symptoms Of Stasis Dermatitis
Some of the common symptoms of stasis dermatitis include the following,
- The condition is characterized by thin and inflamed skin which is associated with severe itching and tingling numbness.
- Red spots on the skin may be observed, due to breakdown of blood cells that get collected.
- The skin becomes dry, scaly and dark with reddish brown discoloration.
- Ulcers on the skin may be observed, which are usually slow to heal and often associated with oozing pus and infection.
Stasis Dermatitis Treatment
The treatment of stasis dermatitis depends upon the severity of the condition and the nature of its onset. The condition needs to be evaluated with blood tests and Doppler studies to understand the condition, however the treatment regimen is simple to follow,
- It is important to improve the circulation of blood. It is therefore recommended to sleep rest or sit with the feet elevated about the level of the heart. This helps the blood to flow back to the heart, under the influence of gravity.
- Wearing stockings is considered to be very useful in improving blood circulation. Stocking help in compressing the venous system and prevents accumulation of fluids
- In case the stasis dermatitis is complicated with an ulcer, it is important to treat the ulcer promptly.
- Regular exercising of the calf muscles, especially contraction and relaxation, can help in reducing congestion at the site and reducing pain associated with the condition.
- Local application of Calendula ointment or Aloe Vera gel can have a soothing effect on the skin. It helps in reducing irritation and helps in prompt management of inflammation.