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Venous leg ulcers – know the risk factors

diabetic foot ulcer

For a Vascular surgeon involved in ulcer care, the focus is to heal an ulcer at the earliest. Recurrence of venous leg ulcers (VLU’s) is a major clinical challenge and a dreaded reality that they must encounter.

Venous Leg Ulcers

Venous leg ulcers are among the most common chronic wounds observed on the lower extremities and feet in humans. They are open lesions of the lower limb and as per published research, almost 60 and 80 % of all leg ulcerations are venous ulcers that exist in the presence of venous diseases. 

It is reported that post-treatment, on an average, only 60% of leg ulcers are healed within two to three months. However, recurrence rate is high at nearly 75% within 3 weeks with most of them resulting in a chronic wound.

The exact cause of venous ulcers is still unknown. Triggers vary from venous hypertension resulting from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) that destroy venous valves rendering them incompetent and dysfunctional and conditions like diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, trauma of the lower extremity, or even scratching over the ankle area. 

Does aging increase the chance for ulcers?

As you grow older, your vein tends to lose its elasticity. The vein valves also become weaker with age. As veins are less competent in controlling the blood flow it can make you susceptible to venous ulcers.

Again, the occurrence of venous ulcers is more in women, especially in those above 50 years. 

Vein conditions that may trigger ulcers

Venous ulcers may also be caused by few other leg vein problems. These include:   

  • Varicose veins – These are gnarled, twisted, or bulging leg veins that occur when valves in the leg veins malfunction, allowing blood to pool in the lower leg. It may increase the pressure on your veins, thus impairing the vascular functions. 
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) –. CVI refers to a broad range of vascular disorders. Varicose veins are just one by- product of venous insufficiency.

When your veins and valves stop functioning properly, they find it difficult to fight gravity and pump blood back up to the heart. If this happens, blood starts flowing backwards and may start to pool around the veins of your legs. This is a condition termed as chronic venous insufficiency. 

Conditions like blood clots (thrombosis) or phlebitis (inflammation) of the veins that can damage the valves in your veins and weaken them can also cause venous ulcers. Obesity is another risk factor because of the increased pressure it exerts on your veins.

Previous leg injury or surgery

A bone fracture, or a serious leg injury or muscle damage can also lead to a venous ulcer. Any surgery which can prevent you from moving around can affect the normal blood circulation and make you more likely to develop venous ulcers. 

For all vein related problems, a good and thorough examination by a qualified vascular expert is the foundation of optimal care.

Concerned about having vein issues? It is essential to seek treatment as soon as they develop to avoid further complications.

Venous Ulcer Treatment Hyderabad | Vijayawada | Visakhapatnam

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