Sometimes cellulitis appears in areas where the skin has broken open, such as the skin near ulcers or surgical wounds. Many times, however, cellulitis occurs where there has been no break in the skin at all, such as with chronic leg swelling (edema). A pre-existing skin infection, such as athlete's foot (tinea pedis) or impetigo can predispose to the development of cellulitis. Likewise, inflammatory conditions of the skin like eczema or skin damage caused by radiation therapy can also increase a person's risk of contracting cellulitis.
People who have diabetes or conditions that compromise the function of the immune system (for example, HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy or drugs that depress the immune system) are particularly prone to developing cellulitis.
Although cellulitis can occur in people of any age, it is most common in middle-aged and elderly people.
Conditions that reduce the circulation of blood in the veins or that reduce circulation of the lymphatic fluid (such as venous insufficiency, obesity, pregnancy, or surgeries) also increase the risk of developing cellulitis.
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