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Gravitational Eczema and the Ulcer it Leaves Behind

Aug 17, 2007
Eczema can appear in many different forms and one of the least known forms of the condition includes Gravitational Eczema.

Also known as Varicose or Stasis Eczema, Gravitational Eczema is fairly common in adults, and it affects the lower legs. Often, if the condition is left untreated, it can leave behind a nasty ulcer which is quite difficult to heal. So what causes this type of Eczema and is there a way to prevent it?

Gravitational Eczema and its Causes

This type of Eczema is generally brought on by high blood pressure and is therefore more common in middle aged and elderly people. You may also develop the condition if you have had varicose veins, phlebitis or deep vein thrombosis in the past. Although it is more common in older people, it can occur in late teenage years and women tend to have a higher risk of the condition since female hormones and pregnancy are known to increase the risk.

The main cause of Gravitational Eczema is down to the pressure on our lower legs. In younger people, as they are more active anyway, the return rate of the blood from the legs to the heart is fairly good, however the older you become, the less active you become, and therefore the blood can often have trouble going back up to the heart fast enough. This then allows the blood to collect in the lower legs.

If the veins in your legs are weak, varicose veins are likely to appear. You can tell if you have varicose veins as they appear as blue, wiggly, raised bulges on the legs. You are more likely to get varicose veins if other people in your family have them and you can also get them from sitting in the same position without much movement for long periods of time.

When the vein walls are weakened, the blood does not move up the veins as fast as it usually would. This means that the blood can often gather and form a pool in the lower legs, which can then flow through the vein walls and into the surrounding space. This causes the ankles to swell and the blood can also leak through small vessels which causes red-brown spots to appear on the skin. These can become hot and itchy and blisters may also appear. If left untreated, the skin often becomes thin and delicate and appears shiny and flaky. If the skin becomes overly dry, it can then crack or break down if it is constantly scratched or picked. This is basically what Gravitational Eczema is.

The Cause of a Varicose Ulcer

As the skin of Gravitational Eczema is generally unhealthy and fragile, it is easily broken and it can leave a nasty sore. If this is not treated straight away to help the skin to heal quickly, then the small hole can widen and become deeper. This is known as a Varicose Ulcer and they are usually found just above the inside of the ankle. It is not uncommon for the ulcer to leak and attract bacteria, which can then make the Eczema a lot worse than what it already is.

The Appropriate Treatment for Gravitational Eczema

As with all Eczema conditions, the skin should be kept moisturized and an Emollient is the best type of treatment for this. However, some people find that they are allergic to some over the counter and prescription Emollients so always check the ingredients take time to find out which ones are best for you. The best treatment is not always the most expensive one; a cheaper alternative often works just as well such as Vaseline.

Make sure that you use the emollient twice a day and you can even buy emollients which go in the bath. This helps to lock moisture in that usually tap water takes out, especially hot water. Always try and avoid using bubble bath and soap until the condition has cleared up.

If you find that the Eczema is particularly itchy you could ask your doctor about using a mild to moderate topical steroid cream.

Overall, there are various treatments available and it is always better to seek advice form your doctor as to which ones would be right for you.
About the Author
Louise Forrest has created the ultimate FREE Health & Beauty guide. Find out how you can gain access to FREE natural skin care articles, tips and techniques at http://www.NaturalElements.co.uk
See how you can gain rapid relief from the misery of eczema with these all organic eczema care products at www.NaturalElements.co.uk
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