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Venous eczema: an update for nurses working in primary care

02 April 2024
Volume 35 · Issue 4


Venous eczema is one of the more common skin conditions seen by nurses in the UK, with the incidence set to rise as the population ages. Linda Nazarko details the best practice for diagnosis and management in a primary care setting

Around 2 million people in the UK have venous eczema. The number of people with venous eczema is set to rise in line with population ageing, rising levels of obesity and falling levels of activity. Venous eczema is often under-recognised and poorly treated. This article outlines the causes of venous eczema, one of the complications of venous disease and how it can be managed.

Venous disease is a common vascular disorder caused by elevated venous pressure. It is a persistent, progressive, and frequently underestimated condition that can have a huge socioeconomic, physical, and psychological impact on a person (Ortega et. al, 2021). The term venous disease describes a continuum of disorders that range from mild swelling of the legs to severe ulceration of the legs that can have a major impact on a person's quality of life.

Chronic venous disease develops because of an interplay between genetics and environmental factors that increases venous pressure, leading to substantial changes in the whole structure and functioning of the venous system (Ligi et. al, 2018)

Veins are part of the circulatory system. They return de-oxygenated blood to the heart. It is then oxygenated and circulated though the body. Veins contain valves that prevent backflow of blood. (See figure one)

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