Chronic Venous Ulcers: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

A venous skin ulcer refers to a sore on the leg, usually caused due to weak circulation of blood in the limb. It’s extremely slow to heal and can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. Such ulcers should be taken care of immediately as they can lead to severe skin complications if ignored.

How are they caused?

Venous skin ulcers are caused when a part of the skin on the leg breaks, especially around the ankle. Veins in the leg responsible for sending blood to the heart become unable to perform efficiently, possibly due to varied reasons. In many cases, the valves supposed to block the flow of blood back into the vein are unable to perform the function properly, causing a backflow of blood. As a result, there is increased pressure in the limb that causes weakening of the skin. It becomes considerably difficult for any cut or scratch to heal in time. In most cases, venous ulcers occur close to bony areas such as the ankle.

Who does it affect?

Such ulcers mostly affect older people, with women at a much higher risk than men. One has a higher chance of getting a venous skin ulcer in case of the previous leg injuries, smoking habit, obesity, condition of varicose veins or other circulatory problems such as blood clots or phlebitis ( painful swelling in the veins).

Symptoms

Most common symptoms of venous skin ulcer include a strong feeling of itchiness or burning sensation in the leg, with the area around it evidently swollen. Other symptoms include dry skin, rash, brown-hued discolouration, the release of a foul-smelling fluid from the ulcer etc. The sore may also get infected over time, in which case you are likely to experience redness, severe pain, fever and/ or pus.

Treatment

In case, you experience severe symptoms or feel that your sore is infected, you must visit a doctor immediately. In most situations, a simple physical exam is enough to determine the condition and severity of the ulcer. You must inform your doctor about any pre-existing conditions including hardening of the arteries, diabetes etc. Any of these conditions are likely to alter the course of treatment and medication that follows. Your doctor may also recommend getting additional tests such as a CT scan or X-ray to properly analyse the condition of the veins and its surrounding area in depth. The ulcer must be examined and treated at the earliest possible to avoid other serious skin and bone infections. Shop for prescribed medication, buy Otoscopes Heine or any other medical equipment from reputed online retailers such as Smart Medical Buyer. You can always count on their name as a guarantee for authentic products at the best prices.

Treatment for venous skin ulcer depends on the specific cause and severity of the ulcer as well as other pre-existing medical conditions. Most common treatment plans include mechanical treatment, conservative management, medication as well as surgical options. The end goal of the treatment irrespective of the method is to fasten ulcer healing, reduce edema and prevent recurrence of the condition. The most popular treatment is the use of a compression stocking or velfour bandage to apply pressure on the sore. This improves blood circulation in the leg and aids the body’s ability to heal. The doctor may also ask you to keep your leg raised to improve circulation – the usual recommendation is to do this activity for half an hour at a time, about 3-4 times a day. In case the ulcer is infected with bacteria, you will be given antibiotics to kill the infection. Dressing the sore with a moist bandage may also help fasten the healing process. If the situation still persists, the doctor may recommend surgery in order to improve blood circulation in the leg. Not only does this help the ulcer heal properly but also prevent its recurrence in the future. The duration of treatment is entirely dependent on how your body reacts to the treatment and the severity of the ulcer itself. While some ulcers heal within a matter of 3-4 months, others may take years or never really go away.

While there is no sure shot way to prevent a venous ulcer from happening, maintaining a healthy lifestyle bereft of smoking and overeating can go a long way in avoiding the condition. Additionally, reduce the level of salt in your diet and exercise regularly to stay fit.

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