Sure we can blame age, the sun, prickly holly bushes and that blasted coffee table for adding unwanted color to our legs, but there’s one culprit the majority of us — even most doctors and dermatologists — don’t consider as a possible cause — and that’s the veins.
As we talked about in our recent blog “Some skin problems are more than skin deep,” vein disease is a progressive medical condition that can cause skin discoloration, irritation and deterioration if it is left undiagnosed and untreated for too long. That’s because the pressure within a diseased vein becomes so great and the vein valves are stretched so far apart that they can’t open and close properly, blood begins to leak from the vein. And when red blood cells come apart, the iron inside “stains” the skin brown, dark brown or even black. This is known as hyperpigmentation.
What causes skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation caused by vein disease can make the skin itchy because the skin’s cells have been irritated by the leaked blood, so they release histamine in defense of the “invader” — making you want to scratch and scratch and scratch. The snowball is in motion and your skin’s condition begins to deteriorate from the excessive scratching.
What causes purple feet?
Some people notice hyperpigmentation in their feet — or “purple feet.” This happens because the blood that flows through the leg is deoxygenated – and therefore darker in color. It’s deoxygenated because it has already done its job delivering nutrients and oxygen to other parts of the body and it’s just making the return trip back to the heart via the legs. People with vein disease who develop purple feet do so because this deoxygenated, darker blood has leaked and pooled in their feet.
If you’re experiencing hyperpigmentation in your legs or feet, a simple ultrasound can determine if vein disease is the culprit. If it is, closing the diseased vein or veins with a minimally invasive vein treatment like VNUS Closure can help return your skin to its normal or nearly normal color and condition.
Call 281-565-0033 to schedule your consultation and screening at Houston’s leading vein treatment center today!