Lower-leg ulcers are a serious complication that can develop with untreated vein disease. In order to protect yourself from ulcers, it’s important to understand the risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing this type of wound.
Risk factors for CVD
One of the main reasons people develop ulcers is because of CVD, chronic venous disease. And while we don’t always know why people develop CVD, some contributing factors include:
- Being a woman
- Being pregnant
- Family history
- On the job risks, like all day standing or sitting.
Any one of these factors can increase your risk of compromised blood flow, varicose veins, and, eventually, chronic venous disease. This, in turn, can make you more likely to develop an ulcer on your lower legs.
Warning Signs for Lower Leg Ulcers
Of course, it’s important to remember that not all people who have CVD will develop ulcers. With people who have CVD, you can watch for certain signs that may indicate an ulcer will soon form:
- Skin changes: CVD patients with varicose veins, thickened skin or venous eczema (also known as varicose eczema, symptoms include itchy, flaky, dry, crusty and/or swollen skin) are more likely to develop an ulcer.
- Edema: Studies show that edema is present in about 90% of patients with lower leg ulcers. Edema, or swelling, occurs when you form more lymph fluid than can be drained, or when your lymph material doesn’t flow well. This leads to a build-up of the fluid that results in swelling in your lower legs.
How to Prevent Venous Ulcers
Whether or not you’re displaying ulcer warning signs, you can take measures to prevent this devastating complication. These steps include:
- Avoiding weight gain
- Eating a balanced diet
- Regularly moisturizing your skin
- Avoid cigarettes or any kind of smoking
- Moving every 30 minutes to avoid long periods of sitting or standing
- Exercising regularly
- Treating varicose veins
If you are concerned about developing ulcers, or already have an ulcer in need of attention, it is important to see your Houston area vein specialist right away. Any delay could pose a serious risk to your limbs, as well as your overall health.
Sources: NHS.uk, nursingtimes.net