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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Stasis dermatitis is a condition that develops when blood pools in your lower legs. It is caused by poor blood flow back to your heart.
- Medicines help improve blood flow from your legs to your heart and decrease swelling.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Wear pressure stockings. These tight elastic stockings put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and prevents blood from collecting in your legs.
- Elevate your legs above the level of your heart for 30 minutes, 4 times a day. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your legs on pillows or blankets to keep them elevated comfortably.
- Exercise regularly. Ask your PHP about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise improves the blood flow in your legs.
- Apply unscented lotions or creams to keep your skin moist and decrease itching.
- Do not scratch your legs. Your skin can break open if you scratch. This can lead to sores or an infection.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your PHP how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. This will help improve your blood flow.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to eat foods that are low in salt to help decrease swelling in your legs.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your PHP if:
- You have a fever.
- Your pain is not getting better, even with treatment.
- You have new or worse open sores.
- Your sores are draining pus.
- Your movement is limited.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.