Skin changes can occur during many stages of venous disease. Brown discoloration that appears as a stain on the skin is a sign of an advanced stage of venous disease. This occurs as a result of blood leaking from the blood vessels and into the skin tissue. This staining can lead to white spots and are a precursor to an ulcer.
Other skin changes include lipodermosclerosis, a disease that causes the skin to thicken, and eczema, which causes the skin to become red/scaly.
Venous stasis ulcers in the leg are often an indication that venous disease has reached an advanced stage. Because venous disease is progressive, venous reflux can often lead to additional valve failure. As a result, the pooling of blood can affect a larger area. When blood pools in the lower leg over a long period of time, the condition is referred to as venous stasis.
When blood leaks into the tissue of the skin, it can cause swelling and damage to the tissue. Tissue damage can result in wounds, or ulcers, that are chronic and do not heal if the condition is left untreated. Ulcers may be painful or itchy and often require constant care and dressing. Because ulcers typically do not heal on their own, they can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Often, because of a poor understanding of options for treatment, people can be plagued with ulcers for years, assuming there is no alternative. While treating the source of venous disorders early can prevent ulcers, those who are already experiencing this late-stage symptom can have excellent success with treatment. In many cases, people with ulcers are able to enjoy complete healing and recovery.