What is Venous Stasis? Simply put, it is a term referring to what happens when venous blood flow is congested or impacted by some dysfunction within the venous system especially at the level of the dermis (skin). In the majority of cases, this disruption in flow is the result of some form of vein disease. The result of such venous congestion most often manifests itself in the form of a reddish eczema like rash or in more severe cases an actual breakdown of the skin resulting in the formation of an ulcer. This is why the skin manifestations that can result from this venous stasis are often referred to as venous stasis dermatitis, venous eczema or in the worst cases a venous stasis ulcer.
What Actually Causes Venous Stasis?
Venous stasis as we mentioned before, results from a dysfunction in the way blood flows within the venous circulation. This disruption in flow happens when the valves, normally present within the venous wall, are not functioning properly as is in the case of varicose vein disease. When these valves fail, venous blood which normally has unidirectional flow (flows in one direction, back towards the heart), now flows bidirectionally (towards the heart and also away from the heart). The result is a buildup of congestion and pressure within the affected area(s). Unlike in the case of arterial blood flow where blood is forced thru the arteries by each contraction of the heart. The same cannot be said about the flow thru the venous system. In the venous system, blood is propelled by either gravity or by the contraction of the surrounding muscles of the legs and feet. Consequently, the valves within the lumen of the veins help direct any blood within the veins back towards the heart. But when the venous valves are not functioning, this unidirectional flow does not happen. The result is a degree of venous stasis in that affected area. The severity of the stasis will then determine the extent of the resultant symptoms.
Although vein disease appears to be the primary contributor to the development of venous stasis, there are other contributing factors that can magnify the extent of venous stasis present. Some of these factors are:
- High blood pressure
- A prior history of DVT (Blood Clot)
- Multiple pregnancies
- Kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Trauma to affected area
How Do you treat Venous Stasis?
Treating venous stasis issues really depends on underlying cause. The good thing is that Venous stasis is not normally a life-threatening condition. However, it can give rise to some rather severe skin manifestations such as chronic leg ulcers, skin infections, and permanent skin damage and scarring should it be left untreated; not to mention the potential for pain and discomfort that can come with these skin manifestations. Unfortunately, should you suffer from venous stasis, it only gets worse with time unless you treat the underlying problem.
Treatment for venous stasis is typically centered around identifying and fixing the cause while minimizing any associated symptoms. This is why, Vein specialists always thoroughly evaluate a patient’s medical history and their legs with the help of ultrasound, to help determine the appropriate method of treatment. You cannot begin to fix something unless you know what is wrong. This is why it is extremely important to seek the help of a well-trained vein specialist to help you address these issues before they continue to get worse. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at STL Vein and Cosmetics are here to answer your questions and to help you down the road to healthier legs.