An Investigation by Elias Olsen
Helen is a 78 year old female with poor circulation. She lives in a nursing home and does not get around very well on her own. On the advice of her primary care nurse, Helen's doctor is closely monitoring a strange rash on Helen's ankle. The doctor has been monitoring the condition for several weeks and has observed that when the weather is drier the skin around Helen's ankle becomes cracked.
My diagnosis is that Helen has stasis dermatitis
A brief description of the disease : a common inflammatory disease that usually affects the lower extremities.
Etiology (Cause or Source)
Stasis dermatitis occurs as a consequence of venous insufficiency. This means that blood flows backwards from the deep venous system to the superficial venous system. The loss of the proper function of these vessels can result from an age-related decrease in valve functionality.
Veins affected by dermatitis
Symptoms include: skin discoloration, itching, scaling, and ulcers. Symptoms also may include the same symptoms as venous insufficiency which are: leg swelling, calf pain, calf tenderness, a dull ache or heaviness in legs.
Things you can do at home to treat stasis dermatitis:
- avoid standing and sitting for long periods of time.
- prop up your feet when siting
- wear compression socks
- wear loose fitting clothing to avoid irritation.
Your doctor may tell you to put wet bandages on your skin and possibly prescribe topical steroid creams and ointments. Antibiotics might be prescribed if your skin becomes infected. Surgery is a possibility if your varicose veins need correcting.
Stasis dermatitis is often a long-term condition because it affects fundamental structures in the circulatory system. However, the disease is not fatal. The home remedies mentioned above can be used to help treat the symptoms.
If left untreated, stasis dermatitis can result in chronic leg ulcers, bacterial skin infections and permanent scarring. It can irritate and cause pain for the person affected by the disease.