Numerous health problems arise when the veins that carry the deoxygenated blood from your organs and tissues back to the heart, malfunction. Your veins have one-way valves that help blood flow upward, against gravity, towards the heart. If these valves turn faulty blood starts to flow sluggishly, towards the feet and begins to pool around the valve in the lower legs. The condition referred to as chronic venous Insufficient (CVI) is mostly found in the legs.
Veins start to bulge, and this is associated with pain, heaviness, leg cramps, leg fatigue, and ankle swelling.
Faulty veins can cause discoloration of the skin in the legs when the blood pools in the vessels. As the pressure inside the blood vessels increases, the fluid starts to leak into the surrounding tissues and leads to the discoloration of the legs and ankles. Untreated CVI can cause venous stasis dermatitis.
Dramatic changes in skin color are symptomatic of a progressive CVI. During later stages, hyperpigmentation is caused due to the deposits of hemosiderin which is a pigment formed due to the breakdown of the proteins (hemoglobin) in your blood. The skin gradually turns brown, red, or takes on a bronze color.
If you notice discolored spots on your ankles, feet, or legs, or some areas of your skin become significantly darker, it is essential that you seek medical attention at the earliest. If CVI and venous stasis dermatitis are not treated in a timely manner, you could develop deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, venous leg ulcers, and many other complications.
Hence, if you have recently noticed any changes in your skin tone, texture, or color in your lower legs or around your ankles, the possibility of an underlying vascular condition cannot be ruled out. Medical treatment should be sought without any delay. If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort, then you may be referred to a Vein specialist.
Your doctor may necessitate an ultrasound scan to determine the abnormalities in blood flow before proceeding with the treatment.
If your doctor is convinced that the skin discoloration is stemming from a vascular problem, then your treatment method will be determined by your symptoms, medical history, and severity of the condition.
Commonly offered treatments include:
Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy, a minimally invasive procedure that treats vein disorders, involves injecting a solution using a small needle directly into the damaged veins, eventually causing them to shrink and disappear.
Laser/radiofrequency Ablation: Ablation is a procedure that makes use of catheters, lasers/radiofrequency energy, and ultrasound to treat vein problems. In this procedure, the abnormal veins are heated and destroyed. It destroys the vein walls and over time the body absorbs the dead tissue and deceased veins disappear.
Dangers of ignoring leg discoloration
Ignoring skin pigmentation or discoloration for a long time can harm more than just your skin. Soft tissues around your skin may thicken, and excessively dry, and cause severe pain and discomfort.
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