Risk Factors and Symptoms of Venous Disease

Patients who suffer from venous disease sometimes have primarily cosmetic concerns.  However, vein doctors often hear that complications such as as varicose veins and venous ulcers cause these individuals significant discomfort.  Understanding the risk factors and symptoms of this condition can help patients evaluate their options.

A Vein Doctor Describes This Condition

Vein specialists known as vascular surgeons also call this condition venous reflux disease and, in some patients, chronic venous insufficiency.  According to the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, almost 25 million Americans experience complications from this disorder.  More than 40 percent of U.S. women could develop varicose vein problems by the time the reach their fifties.

Knowing a bit about the role of veins is important to understanding disease risk factors and symptoms.  While arteries transport blood with oxygen in it from the heart to other parts of the body, the job of veins is returning blood that needs oxygen to the heart.

Veins are essentially hollow tubes that contain valves.  The Cleveland Clinic notes that the purpose of these valves is to keep blood flowing toward the heart.  If a valve fails to function or is damaged as the result of venous reflux disease, it is unlikely to close properly.  The result is leaking blood that pools behind it and that exerts pressure on the vein, particularly in a leg.  This causes the vein to dilate, resulting in possible complications such as spider veins, varicose veins, phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, and ulcers.

The University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery cites these common risk factors:

  • Varicose veins in the family
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Being female and more than 50

Vascular surgeons note these typical symptoms:

  • Lower-leg swelling that persists
  • Pain or a sensation of aching, cramping, or heaviness in a leg
  • Blue-tone skin discoloration in the ankle area
  • Appearance of venous ulcers that are sometimes also infected

Diagnosis and Treatment at a Vein Treatment Center

To make a diagnosis of venous reflux disease, vein doctors perform a physical examination and review the medical history of patients at a vein clinic.  One helpful diagnostic tool is duplex ultrasound to determine how blood is flowing and evaluate the structure of veins in the leg.  Magnetic resonance venography combines computer technology, a magnet, contrast dye, and radio frequencies to create images of the body and allow a vein doctor to visualize targeted vessels.

Patients have a number of outpatient therapies available when they seek treatment at a vein clinic, depending on the complications they experience.  Conservative measures include wearing compression stockings and making lifestyle changes such as losing weight.  Sclerotherapy and VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis procedures treat spider veins.  The Venefit procedure and ambulatory phlebectomy effectively eliminate varicose vessels.

Understanding Venous Reflux: The Root Cause of Abnormal Veins

Most cases of abnormal veins arise from a problem known as “venous reflux.” Because of this condition, millions of patients suffer from the symptoms of varicose veins, often seeking professional treatment for relief.

What is Venous Reflux?

Venous reflux is a condition that develops when valves within the veins fail. It is most common in the saphenous veins, which are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart. When they are functioning properly, the valves in these veins stop blood from flowing backward. When they fail, however, blood refluxes and pools, which causes the vein to swell. These diseased veins are referred to as “varicose veins.”

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are most common in the legs, and they may be blue, red or purple in color. They appear as large, swollen veins that may be twisted or gnarled. In some cases, varicose veins protrude from the legs. In other cases, they are found deep within the tissues. Many patients experience uncomfortable symptoms with this condition, including swelling of the legs, pain, cramping, throbbing, burning, weakness and tingling. If varicose veins are severe, ulceration of the skin may occur as well.

Treatment Options for Patients

Patients with varicose veins may be able to resolve their symptoms with a number of different treatments. Some of the most common treatments designed to address venous reflux include:

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that involves a series of injections into the patient’s varicose veins. This procedure works by introducing a sclerosing solution into the veins in order to force the walls to swell and seal together. For some patients, this procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance.

Microphlebectomy

Microphlebectomy is a procedure used to remove diseased veins from the body and eliminate all associated symptoms. During this procedure, the vascular surgeon uses small hooks to extract veins from the body through small incisions.

Laser Ablation

Laser ablation treats varicose veins by administering laser energy into the interior of the walls. The heat generated by the laser shrinks the vein’s collagen fibers and causes them to disappear.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation treats the interior of varicose veins with radiofrequency energy. This energy is introduced into the vein via a thin catheter.

Seeking Treatment

If you are interested in seeking treatment for varicose veins, contact the Bridgeport Vein Center.

Vein Disease: What it is and how to treat it

Vein disease is a common problem affecting millions of people all across the country. Here is some basic information about vein disease to help you understand how it affects your life and what you can do about it.

What is Vein Disease?   vein disease

Vein disease occurs when your veins no longer look normal and/or function properly. The most common cause of vein disease is known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux. This condition develops when the valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards within one or more veins fail. This allows blood to pool in the veins, leading to a number of symptoms.

Anyone can get vein disease, but you are more likely to develop this condition if you are obese, female and/or pregnant. The risk of vein disease also increases with age.

Symptoms of Vein Disease

Two types of abnormal veins can develop in patients with vein disease: spider veins and varicose veins. Spider veins usually appear as small, web-like veins that are purple, blue or red. They are rarely raised above the skin’s surface and don’t typically cause any additional symptoms. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are larger veins that may be gnarled or swollen and tend to appear in the legs. They may be raised above the skin’s surface, and they may also be uncomfortable. Patients with varicose veins often report cramping, tingling, numbness, throbbing, weakness and restlessness associated with this condition.

Vein Disease Treatment Options

The treatment options for people suffering from vein disease include:

  • Conservative treatment. – Conservative treatment options for abnormal veins include compression, elevation of the legs, exercise and weight loss.
  • Foam sclerotherapy. – Foam sclerotherapy is a treatment option designed for spider veins that involves the introduction of a foam sclerosant into the vein by injection.
  • Liquid sclerotherapy. – Liquid sclerotherapy is a treatment option designed for spider veins that involves the introduction of a liquid sclerosant into the vein by injection.
  • Endovenous laser therapy. – Endovenous laser therapy is a procedure that utilizes laser energy to seal off varicose veins.
  • Radiofrequency ablation. – Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to seal off varicose veins.
  • Microphlebectomy. – Microphlebectomy involves the complete removal of varicose veins from the body using small surgical hooks. This treatment option is best for superficial varicose veins.

Choosing a Treatment Option

If you are suffering from vein disease, the best way to find the right treatment option for you is to visit a vein specialist.