Varicose Eczema – Know the Treatment Options

Varicose EczemaEczema (also known as dermatitis) is a dry skin condition which is highly individual in nature. According to the National Eczema Association, over 30 million Americans have some form of eczema. Varicose eczema is a common problem, particularly in the elderly. Also known as stasis or gravitational eczema, this skin condition affects the lower legs and sores may develop.

Skin with eczema is more liable to become red and inflamed on contact with substances that are known to irritate or cause an allergic reaction. Usually caused by increased pressure in the leg veins, stasis dermatitis can occur in people who have varicose veins. Symptoms may include aching legs when standing for a prolonged period, varicose veins covered with dry, itchy, or irritated skin and red, swollen, and painful skin, that is weeping and crusty. Left untreated, the condition can lead to intense itching in the skin, and shrinking of the lower part of the leg. Certain factors that increase the chances of this condition occurring include gender, obesity, and pregnancy.

Treatment options include:

  • Elastic medical compression stockings to improve blood circulation
  • Emollients (moisturizers) and corticosteroid medicines that improve the skin condition
  • Complementary therapies such as food supplements or herbal remedies

To diagnose the condition, the patient’s history of blood clots, surgery, heart disease, and previous injury to the affected area will be considered. The reason for the poor blood circulation will be identified using blood tests, ultrasound and heart function tests. The management of infected venous eczema will require skin assessment and interventions involving frequent applications of topical treatments such as corticoid steroids, emollients and dressings. A thorough history and clinical examination should be performed in patients, to choose the right treatment.

Patients should be examined in the standing position to look for the distribution of the varicose vein. Nurses must make sure to document skin changes – nature and severity, blisters and crusts on the surface, whether the skin is hardened, tight, red or brown skin. All such details can be documented using a wound EMR, which makes documentation an easy process for clinics. Clinical assessment would include exclusion of cellulitis, pain, skin integrity, choice and implementation of topical or systemic therapy.

Physicians also recommend taking special care to avoid injuring the skin. Staying physically active will improve your circulation and enable you to maintain a healthy weight.