Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)

What Is Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)? What Causes Varicose Eczema?

Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis) is a chronic inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. It is most common in infants and children. It can occur in adults and this condition is not contagious.
According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary:

Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis) erythema and scaling of the lower extremities due to impaired venous circulation, seen commonly in older women or secondary to deep vein thrombosis, the latter with rapid onset and swelling.

Varicose Eczema involves the skin on or near varicose veins in the legs and usually the skin on the ankles is affected. Varicose veins occur when the valves in particular blood vessels malfunction and allow the blood to flow backwards. The condition is more likely to occur in people who are overweight.

What are the symptoms of Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)?

Symptoms of eczema may include itching, which is the most common symptom, dry skin and rash usually consisting of red or scaly areas of skin.

Areas infants are commonly affected by eczema are face, neck, extensor surfaces, trunk and groin. In children front of elbows and behind the knees and in adults the front of elbows, behind knees, face, neck and upper chest are most affected.

More symptoms can occur that include rash may develop oozing or crusting of the skin, thickening and leathery quality of skin with chronic eczema (known as lichen simplex chronicus), paleness around the mouth, extra fold of skin beneath lower eyelid (Dennie's or Morgan's line) and/or increased number of skin creases on the palms.

The cracks and poor skin condition of this disorder predisposes for the entry of bacterial infection causing spreading cellulitis infection in the leg. If the skin condition deteriorates further and breaks down, a venous ulcer (also known as statis ulcer) may form.

Immediate medical attention is recommended if redness and swelling occur, a yellowish crusting is present or drainage of pus is observed.

In addition to physical discomfort, people with eczema may develop emotional problems, such as depression or anxiety, and may experience social difficulties due to visible skin rashes. Eczema and its treatment may be particularly difficult for children, especially when skin involvement is quite severe.

What are the causes of Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)?

Developing in the lower legs, this common eczema occurs when circulation becomes sluggish. Poor blood flow causes fluids to build up, and the legs swell. Over time, this build up of fluids affects the skin.
Also, genetics, environment, stress, frequent washing of already affected areas, use of rubber gloves if sensitive to latex or obsessive scratching of the skin can lead to eczemas. Allergic Rhinitis may include allergies to things that touch the skin (such as wool or perfumes in soaps), allergies to dust mites (very common), or allergies to foods. What directly causes some types of eczema is clear-cut. One type of eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, develops after frequent exposure to a mild irritant such as a detergent or brief exposure to a strong irritant such as battery acid. Another type, allergic contact dermatitis develops when an allergen (substance to which a person is allergic) touches the skin. Common allergens include poison ivy and nickel. A nickel allergy is actually one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis. Many everyday objects contain nickel, including coins, buttons, jewelry, and eyeglass frames.

The exact cause of other types of eczema is not fully understood. Researchers believe that atopic dermatitis develops when many factors combine. These factors include inheriting certain genes, having an overactive immune system, and having something that dermatologists call a "barrier defect." A barrier defect is a term that means "gaps in the skin." These gaps allow the skin to lose water too quickly. The gaps also allow germs and other things too small to see with the naked eye to enter the body.

Seborrheic dermatitis is another type of eczema that seems to develop when a number of factors interact. These factors include the person's genes, yeast that live on human skin, stress, climate, and overall general health. Research shows that seborrheic dermatitis tends to be severe in people who have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This indicates that the person's immune system plays a role.

Diagnosing Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)

Currently, there is no specific test for eczema, and no single symptom or feature can be used to identify the disease. The diagnosis is based on your medical history and the physical exam. Each patient has a unique combination of symptoms, and the symptoms and severity may vary over time.

A doctor may be able to make a diagnosis based on your medical exam. However some tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis or to check for similar skin conditions or to look for health problems frequently associated with eczema (such as allergies or hayfever).

If there are telltale signs that this is an allergic reaction, your dermatologist may order a test called the "patch test." Patch testing can help identify everyday substances to which a person is allergic.

What are the treatment options for Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)?

The key to curing stasis dermatitis is by controlling the underlying condition and also the symptoms of the ailment. One of the first steps is to reduce the cause of the swelling. Although surgery can be done to correct varicose veins, a diuretic may also perform some non-surgical methods to remove extra fluids in the ankles and the legs.

Another non-surgical method to alleviate the condition of stasis dermatitis is through proper blood circulation on the affected area. An effective way to do this is by keeping the legs elevated. This is done consistently until the swelling is gone. Mild physical activities like short-distance walks can also help promote normal blood circulation.

Treatment may consist of topical applications of steroid based creams and the use of compression stockings to help force the underlying buildup of fluids back out of the lower leg or sequential gradient pump therapy.

Sequential Gradient Pump Therapy has been used over 30 years throughout the world to treat varicose eczema. Compression pump technology utilizes a multi-chambered pneumatic sleeve with overlapping cells to promote movement of lymph fluid. Pump therapy may be used in addition to other treatments such as compression bandaging and manual lymph drainage.

In many cases, pump therapy may help soften fibrotic tissue and therefore potentially enable more efficient lymphatic drainage. Sequential pump therapy may also be used as a home treatment method, usually as part of a regimen also involving compression garments or wrapping.

Preventing Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)

There is no true way to prevent varicose eczema, however lifestyle modifications are the first line of defense in controlling eczema, regardless of whether the eczema is mild, moderate, or severe.

It is important to always moisturize, limit contact with anything that irritates the skin, avoid sweating and overheating, avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity, grab a cold compress to curb the itch, dress in loose-fitting cotton clothes, double rinse clothes, wash new clothes before wearing and reduce stress levels.


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