Venous Ulcers: Who Is At Risk?

Dr. Naar at Premier Vein Clinic, venous ulcers

For most people, varicose veins are a benign or cosmetic condition causing few symptoms or other health issues. Oftentimes symptoms of venous disease can go unnoticed.  The redundancies of the circulatory system usually find a way to supply blood to all tissue. Venous ulcers occur when the poorly functioning valves inside your veins interfere with normal blood flow to the point that veins can no longer adequately circulate blood. It becomes like a waterfall. Tissue can start retaining fluid and dying from lack of oxygen and nutrients.

How venous ulcers begin

Because veins normally operate with a lower blood pressure than the arterial system, vein walls have valves that open to let blood pass, while closing to prevent backflow. This is particularly important in your legs, where blood returning to the heart usually faces an uphill climb. When these veins begin to fail, blood can pool, and pressure can build up beyond the capabilities of the venous system.

The twisting bulges of varicose veins are the usual visual sign of failing valves. Simply having varicose veins doesn’t mean that you’ll develop venous ulcers though. These usually begin when you have a break in the skin, usually on the lower leg near an ankle. The increase in local blood pressure can delay ordinary healing. The skin break may turn from a minor problem into an ulcer, which can be much more serious.

Symptoms of venous ulcers

You may first feel an itching or burning sensation in the area of an ulcer. The skin in the area may feel dry or show signs of a rash. There may also be brown color changes, and the sore may start to leak fluid that has a strong, foul smell. Once the venous ulcer starts, there’s a risk it will become infected, usually revealed by increased pain and redness in the area, as well as pus leakage and an accompanying fever.

Treatment ranges from rest and elevation of the affected leg, compression stockings or bandages, antibiotics if the ulcer is infected, and surgery, which may be needed to improve circulation and prevent recurrence.

Risk factors for venous ulcers

Having diabetes is a major risk factor for developing venous ulcers. Changes to your blood vessels due to high glucose levels leave them vulnerable to conditions that form ulcers. These changes can reduce blood flow as well as cause nerve problems that prevent you from feeling the effects of ulcers until the later stages. Venous ulcers can, in extreme cases, lead to limb amputation.

Congestive heart failure also creates challenges for your circulatory system, which can contribute to venous ulcers. The same holds true for other disorders of blood vessels such as peripheral vascular disease and deep vein thrombosis. All factors that contribute to these conditions also raise your risk of developing venous ulcers.

Some of the more common contributors to venous leg ulcers include:

If you’re suffering from venous ulcers, or if you have several risk factors and want to ensure you don’t develop ulcers in future, contact Dr. Naar at Premier Vein Clinic for a comprehensive evaluation. You can reach the office by phone or by using the appointment request tool on the website. There’s no need to endure the discomfort of venous leg ulcers. Contact us today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Top Tips for Preventing Varicose Veins

While varicose veins may result from factors beyond your control, there are things you can do — literally steps you can take — to help improve your chance of avoiding this unsightly condition caused by the failure of tiny valves within the veins.

Banish Pesky Spider Veins Before Summer

Those red, blue, or purple webs covering your legs aren’t doing much except blemishing your skin. Called spider veins, these blemishes rarely cause issues other than cosmetic concerns. Treating spider veins is quick and easy with sclerotherapy.

How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins, often unsightly, are more than a cosmetic concern. It can be brought on by age, hormones, pregnancy heredity, prolonged standing or hard work. Luckily, there's a simple, non-invasive office-based procedure to get rid of varicose veins.

What to Do About Skin Darkening

Embarrassed by areas of dark skin on your legs or another area of your body? Skin discoloration can be a sign of an underlying vein condition that you don’t want to ignore. Nonsurgical procedures help treat the problem and improve skin aesthetics.

What Is Sclerotherapy?

Do you have unsightly blue spider veins on your nose or cheeks? Do you hide your legs all summer because of webs of purple lines on your thighs or calves? Sclerotherapy can erase those veins and restore your skin-tone, without surgery or downtime.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Leg Pain from Vein Disorders

Vein disorders cause damage to your veins, resulting in discomfort and potentially leading to more serious problems. There are treatments for vein disorders that can help alleviate your pain, leg heaviness, tiredness but lifestyle changes also should be pa