Leg Ulcers and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins is a condition developed because of a disease known as Venous Insufficiency. Valves in our body help carry blood to the heart, against gravity. Should this function fail, the blood flows downwards, and accumulates in the veins. This results in increased pressure and causes the veins to bulge and become swollen. This condition occurs often when the blood pools up around the legs, leading to a visibly swollen vein in the calf or thigh.

One of the main problems faced by people suffering from venous insufficiency is venous ulcers. When the skin surrounding the areas affected by varicose veins come into contact with external objects, it breaks down. When this skin breaks down, it reveals the flesh underneath. These ulcers become very problematic and take a very long time to heal. Since the health of the skin in areas affected is really poor, even a mild graze causes great damage, with virtually no healing taking place. These ulcers occur mostly amongst women and older people.

What makes venous ulcers so severe and difficult to contain is the veins in the legs facing an increased pressure in the pumping of blood. This is caused by the blood that pools in smaller veins close to the surface of skin, as a result of varicose veins. This further leads to fluid oozing out of these veins, leading to the swelling, thickening and damage to the skin. The complications that arise as a consequence of venous ulcers involve the affected tissue getting infected, and in the worst case scenario, leads to amputation.

The basic Treatment for venous ulcers is to dress the affected area, just like the case of a normal wound. However, this does not result in healing the ulcer, but only protects it from further damage. Compression bandaging is a method that helps heal ulcers. How it works is, multiple layers of bandages wrap up the affected area, with most pressure applied around the ankle area, gradually decreasing as the bandages progress towards the knee and thigh. The point of this is to offset the increased pressure in the leg veins.

A healthy practice is to rest your legs in an elevated position (higher than the hips) as often as possible. This causes the blood and fluid to flow back towards the heart, reducing the swelling and pressure in the legs. Besides this, using creams, antibiotics and painkillers prescribed by the doctor, adjusting your dietary habits and avoiding cigarettes all help. In some cases, a skin grafting or surgery to treat the varicose veins may be necessary.

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