Veins and Vein Disease
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the leg is a life threatening venous disorder that occurs when thrombus, or a blood clot, develops in the deep venous system. The risk of developing DVT increases when venous blood flow becomes more stagnant. This is more commonly seen in individuals with venous reflux and varicose vein disease. In these individuals, superficial venous blood clots (superficial thrombophlebitis) can lead to DVT because of the incompetent valve system linking the deep and superficial systems together.
One way to decrease your risk of DVT is to treat the venous reflux and vein disease, eliminating the veins with the faulty valves. The Vein Guys™ correct vein disease through a minimally invasive procedure called Venefit™. The procedure is performed in the office in about 15 minutes and patients typically return to normal activity within a day.
Veins carry de-oxygenated blood from the outer parts of the body back to the heart and lungs. The blood in the legs has to fight against gravity to travel up the leg. The vein valves play an important role in this process, preventing a back-flow of blood. Vein disease, also called venous reflux disease, is the weakening of the vein walls and valves, which allows a backflow of blood down the veins. The blood pools in the leg causing an increase in pressure in the veins, which results in the symptoms of vein disease. These symptoms include varicose veins, spider veins, swelling, edema, pain, aching, throbbing, burning, numbness, cramping and heavy feeling legs or ankles.
Vein disease is hereditary. Other factors that can lead to vein disease are pregnancy, prolonged periods of standing or sitting and obesity. Luckily, vein disease can be treated.
Spider veins are close to the skins surface and may look thin and wispy like spider webs or thick and squiggly like branches. They are similar to varicose veins, only thinner. Although we tend to think of spider veins as a cosmetic problem, many times there is an underlying medical cause that has created the spider veins. If you have spider veins along with any other symptom of vein disease (stinging, throbbing, aching, numbness, etc.) then you may have an underlying issue. An evaluation and an ultrasound test can establish if spider veins are cosmetic in nature or a result of venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins are large, bulging, blue, rope-like veins in the legs. They can occur when the valves in the leg veins become weak or diseased and no longer function properly, causing blood to pool in the legs. Varicose veins are the most obvious and visual symptom of vein disease, but you do not have to have visible veins to have vein disease.
The obvious visual symptoms of vein disease are bulging, ropey or rope-like varicose veins and spider veins. But you do not have to have visible varicose veins or spider veins to have vein disease. Other less noticeable signs include:
- History of vein problems in your blood-related family
- Fatigued, tired, heavy-feeling legs
- Leg pain caused by prolonged standing or sitting
- Itching, tingling, numbness, cramping or burning in the legs or feet
- Swollen ankles at the end of the day
- Discoloration of the skin in the lower legs
- Open sores or ulcers of the lower legs and ankles
- Cramps that wake you up at night or a diagnosis of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
The symptoms of vein disease may be gradual or rapid in onset, and in most cases there is a family history of vein problems. If you have any ONE of these symptoms you may have vein disease and need to schedule an appointment at The Vein Guys™ for an insurance or Medicare covered consultation and evaluation.