By Colin Doyle, APRN
Don't let these common skin changes be confused with other dermatological conditions. See what types of discoloration and skin texture changes are commonly misdiagnosed when they are likely signs of vein disease.
Skin discoloration and texture changes are common signs of vein disease. These changes are also often confused with other dermatological conditions and may go misdiagnosed for years.
What Are the Skin Changes Associated with Vein Disease?
Skin changes associated with vein disease may include:
- Red skin
- Darker skin (brown or black)
- Thickened or hard skin
- Scaly skin
- Swollen areas of skin
- Ulcerative skin (having sores)
Can Vein Disease Cause Discoloration Even Though There Is No Visible Bulging Vessel?
Vein disease can cause discoloration even if there are no visible varicose veins. Varicose veins, which bulge out from the skin’s surface, are only visible when your diseased veins are close enough to the surface of your skin. If your veins are deeper, they can cause symptoms of pain, swelling, discoloration, or ulceration all while never showing visible skin changes.
How Does Venous Disease Cause Discoloration in the Leg?
Vein disease causes discoloration in the leg when blood pools in the vessels instead of flowing back to the heart. As the blood collects, the pressure inside the vessels builds until the vessel leaks. This fluid is very irritating to the tissue and can cause inflammation or as it collects, swelling.
The fluid inside the vessels also contains red blood cells which are partially composed of iron. If the iron collects in the skin, it can oxidize or rust in the skin, turning the skin a darker shade of brown or black. The chronic inflammation can, over time, also cause scar tissue to develop in the skin, causing thickening and hardening to the skin. The hardened tissue isn't as flexible as normal issue and can crack, allowing the fluid that leaked into the tissue to weep out of the skin. This fluid can collect on the skin, causing scaling or it can erode the skin resulting in an ulceration.
What Can I Do If My Legs Are Becoming Discolored?
If you’re noticing skin discoloration or other symptoms of skin changes related to vein disease, you should:
- Get a prompt evaluation by a vascular specialist
- Elevate your legs frequently
- Exercise regularly
- Moisturize your legs regularly
- If deemed appropriate by your vascular specialist, wear graduated compression socks.
Request a free consultation for your symptoms today!