As you get older, you might find that simple cuts and scrapes on your lower legs take longer to heal. When this delayed healing happens because of increased blood pressure in leg veins, the open sore is called a venous stasis ulcer. Sometimes, the wound can form because of the elevated pressure in veins.
Leg ulcers may require specialized care to heal. When you encounter venous ulcers or other problems with blood flow in your legs, contact Dr. Clement Banda and the team at MD Vein & Skin Specialists in Columbia, Maryland.
A leg ulcer expert, Dr. Banda, can diagnose the reasons behind your slow-healing wound. Understanding these reasons may help you respond quickly, should they occur. We’ve listed here 4 of the most common risk factors of venous ulcers you should know.
There are some risk factors for venous ulcers that you can’t alter. Women, for instance, suffer from venous ulcers more often than men. Hormonal conditions in women affect the strength and flexibility of vein walls, which also change during pregnancy.
Getting older also causes changes to vein walls, and taller people naturally have longer vein lengths in their legs. Venous blood pressure may be higher because of the effects of gravity on blood trying to move upward.
A series of valves within your veins ensure the forward movement of blood back toward the heart and lungs for the resupply of oxygen. As you get older or as health issues affect the walls of veins, they may thin out and stretch, and some valves may no longer close completely. Blood can flow backward and start to pool, placing even more pressure on vein walls. When these veins are close to the skin’s surface, they become visible as twisted, gnarled, and bulging blue or purple varicose veins.
In most cases, varicose veins are a cosmetic condition, but when you develop these, your chance of developing venous ulcers climbs. Varicose veins can lead to stasis dermatitis, skin changes caused by leaking venous fluids. These changes may mean that venous ulcers could occur in the future.
The pooling of blood in failing veins can result in clots. These clots can cause aching, pain, and in rare cases, death when a clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, creating a pulmonary embolism. People with deep vein thrombosis or a family history that includes deep vein thrombosis have an elevated risk for venous ulcers.
Certain lifestyle factors can increase your chances of slow-healing ulcers. The use of tobacco products produces negative changes in blood vessels. Being overweight adds additional strain to the veins in your legs. People who need to sit or stand for long periods at work miss out on the vital pumping action that movement creates. This compromises blood circulation in the legs, making ulcers more likely.
Call or click to book an appointment with Dr. Banda and the team at MD Vein & Skin Specialists when you suspect a venous ulcer or other circulation issues. Prompt treatment usually improves your outcome, so don’t delay and schedule your visit now.