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Vein Disease

Vein Disease

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering “why do my legs hurt?” you may want to learn more about vein disease. Over 25 million Americans are estimated to suffer from vein disease, which is a broad term that is used to refer to a number of disorders in the vein. Vein disease can refer to spider veins, varicose veins, venous insufficiency, venous reflux, and several other conditions. Your veins are a crucial part of your overall health, so it is important that vein disorders are diagnosed and treated quickly and properly. Why are veins so crucial? They are responsible for returning blood back to the heart where it can be oxygenated and recirculated, making them a vital component of your body’s blood transportation network. Healthy veins have elastic walls and one-way valves to make sure blood is transported towards the heart. Vein disease can cause these valves to cease functioning properly, which may allow blood to flow downwards and pool in veins. If your vein walls also start losing their elasticity, the vein may start to swell, bulge, twist, or knot. This problem is most likely to occur in the legs because blood has to travel against the force of gravity to reach the heart. There are a number of factors that can lead to vein disease, including age, family history, pregnancy and standing in the same position for an extended period of time. While men can and do suffer from vein disease, women are more likely to have this problem.

Is Vein Disease Serious?

Most types of vein disease are not life-threatening. Varicose veins and other less severe issues can majorly impact your quality of life, leaving you feeling embarrassed and lacking in confidence. However, there are some vein conditions (including deep vein thrombosis) that can lead to potentially fatal complications if left untreated.

Vein Disease Treatment and Diagnosis
There’s nothing to fear if you believe you have vein disease: diagnosis is painless and uncomplicated. A vein specialist can examine your veins with an ultrasound to determine if treatment is necessary. There are a number of minimally invasive vein treatment options available if treatment is necessary. All patients can enjoy a higher quality of life through vein disease diagnosis and treatment, and in severe cases these approaches can save lives.
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Causes of Vein Disease

Venous insufficiency (which is also referred to as varicose vein disease) is often caused by age and genetic factors, but lifestyle choices can also have an impact. You are more likely to experience vein disease if you spend a significant amount of time standing or if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Though both men and women can develop varicose veins, women are twice as likely to experience them as men. When your veins are healthy, tiny one-way valves help transport blood from your legs and arms back to your heart. In some cases these valves can become damaged, allowing blood to flow backwards and pool in the veins below. This pressure often leads to a bulging, painful, and swollen vein that is most commonly found in the leg.

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Symptoms of Vein Disease

Some people overlook their varicose veins for some time, but in most cases their bluish-purple color makes them easy to spot. Their color is caused by the blood’s lack of oxygenation, which is the reason for its trip back to the heart.
Varicose veins may not be symptomatic at first, but many patients eventually report achiness and a sense of heaviness in their legs. Often accompanying these symptoms are ankle and lower leg swelling, cramps, a sense of restlessness, and an irritated or itchy rash around the ankles. The area around the vein may become numb or tender to the touch.
Varicose vein symptoms can also be aesthetic. Bulging, twisted, or knotted veins can form over the ankle and foot while the skin around them becomes discolored, leathery, and thick. In advanced stages this skin may begin to break down, leading to ulceration.
Spider veins are similar to varicosities, but they are smaller and appear closer to the skin’s surface. As their name suggest, they often form in patterns similar to spider webs. They are often red in color and may be a sign of more serious vein disease under the skin.

Risk Factors & Consequences

While spider veins and early varicose veins may simply seem unsightly, if untreated, they can become problematic medical conditions, check out deep vein thrombosis. With any under-functioning veins or underlying venous condition, the pressure created by back-flow of blood and pooling in the lower legs can lead to a progressive condition that will only worsen with time, resulting in swelling, pain and venous ulcers. If you have been putting off seeing a doctor, whether out of fear or concern that it may be too costly to treat, call us today. Only a vein specialist should assess your spider or varicose veins.

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