Stasis dermatitis: Causes
Who gets stasis dermatitis?
Stasis dermatitis is most likely to develop in someone who has the following traits:
Age: Because poor circulation leads to stasis dermatitis, this type of dermatitis usually develops in people who are middle aged or older. In the United States, stasis dermatitis:
Tends to develop in people 50 years of age and older
Rarely occurs before 40 years of age
Gender: Women are slightly more likely to develop stasis dermatitis.
Medical history: Having one or more of the following increases your risk of developing stasis dermatitis:
Venous insufficiency (your body has trouble returning blood from your legs to your heart, so some blood pools in your legs)
Varicose veins (or blood relatives who have them)
High blood pressure
Previous blood clot, especially a blood clot in a leg like deep vein thrombosis
Previous injury to the area
Surgery (to the area or removing a vein from the area)
A heart condition, such as congestive heart failure (a weakened heart cannot pump blood effectively)
Being very overweight
Lifestyle: Having any of the following also increase your risk of developing stasis dermatitis:
Standing or sitting for long periods of time, such as at work
Getting little or no exercise
Excess body fat
You can reduce your risk
If you get little or no exercise, becoming more active may reduce your risk of developing stasis dermatitis. Exercise can improve your blood flow, help you shed excess body fat, and possibly reduce high blood pressure.
Before beginning any exercise, you should talk with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
What causes stasis dermatitis?
Poor circulation leads to stasis dermatitis. Because poor circulation most commonly develops in the lower legs and feet, this is the most common area of the body for stasis dermatitis to develop. If you have stasis dermatitis, an accurate diagnosis and treatment are essential. Treatment can prevent the disease from worsening.
Fritsch PO and Reider N. “Other eczematous eruptions: Stasis dermatitis.” In: Bologna JL, Jorizzo JL, et. al. Dermatology (second edition), Elsevier Mosby, 2008:201-2.
Sippel K, Mayer D, et. al. “Evidence that venous hypertension causes stasis dermatitis.” Phlebology. 2011 Dec;26(8):361-5.