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Eczema types: Stasis dermatitis causes

Your risk of developing stasis dermatitis increases with age

Doctors estimate that more than 20% of people over 70 years of age have stasis dermatitis.2 Exercising can decrease your risk.

Three women over 50 years of age walking briskly.

Who gets stasis dermatitis?

This condition develops in people who have poor blood flow to their lower legs. You’re more likely to have poor blood flow if you are:

  • 50 years of age or older

  • A woman

  • Overweight

  • Sedentary (get little exercise)

  • Frequently sitting or standing for long periods

Injury, surgery, and medical conditions also increase risk

A condition that affects the blood flow in your legs and feet can increase the risk of developing stasis dermatitis. You’re more likely to develop stasis dermatitis if you have:

  • Injured a lower leg badly

  • Had surgery on your leg

  • A condition that affects your heart, such as congestive heart failure or long-standing high blood pressure

  • Swelling in your legs for a long time

  • Varicose veins

  • People in your family tree who have vein problems

  • Had a blood clot, such as deep vein thrombosis

  • Had cellulitis

  • Kidney disease

The more of the above that you have, the greater your risk of developing stasis dermatitis. Not everyone who has a greater risk will develop this disease. The reason this happens seems to lie in what causes stasis dermatitis.

What causes stasis dermatitis?

Blood is constantly circulating throughout your body. When blood reaches your legs, valves in your legs allow it to flow back toward your heart. As we age, these valves tend to weaken. A bad leg injury, heart disease, or another condition listed above can also damage these valves in your legs.

When the valves weaken, some blood stays in your legs. This causes a medical condition called venous insufficiency. Not everyone who has venous insufficiency develops stasis dermatitis. Dermatologists and other doctors continue to study why only certain people develop stasis dermatitis.

If you might have stasis dermatitis, it’s important that you find out. Treatment and self-care can prevent the condition from worsening.

Here’s what’s involved in getting a diagnosis and treatment, Stasis dermatitis: Diagnosis and treatment.

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2 Flugman SL, Clark RA. [editor: Elston DM] “Stasis dermatitis.” Medscape. Last updated Mar 27, 2020.

Nedorost S, White S, et al. “Development and implementation of an order set to improve value of care for patients with severe stasis dermatitis.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 Mar;80(3):815-7.

Reider N, Fritsch PO. “Other eczematous eruptions.” In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. (fourth edition). Mosby Elsevier, China, 2018:235-6.

Sundaresan S, Migden MR, et al. “Stasis dermatitis: Pathophysiology, evaluation, and management. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2017;18(3):383-90.