What Is Vein Disease?
Vein disease is one of the most common health conditions affecting over 30 percent of the population.1 Vein disease, also referred to as venous insufficiency, is the primary cause of varicose or spider veins.
This occurs when the valves or walls in your leg veins malfunction. When these vessels become weakened, they have difficulty pushing the blood back to your heart. As a result, blood begins to pool in your legs which can cause spider veins, varicose veins, and skin ulcers.
Common Signs of Vein Disease
Vein disease is most often associated with physical signs like varicose veins, spider veins, or reticular veins. For some, this can also cause painful symptoms leading to a
decreased quality of life. Here are common symptoms:
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Tired, aching legs
- Burning in the calf or thigh
- Leg pain that feels better when you walk or raise your legs
- Itchy, dry skin
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Difficulty standing for long periods
- Non-healing wounds on your legs
If you have leg discomfort that matches any of the above symptoms, you may have venous insufficiency. Receiving treatment can help alleviate signs and symptoms and prevent your condition from becoming worse.
Causes and Risks
The circulatory system consists of veins and arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that bring oxygenated blood full of nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins are vessels that transport blood without oxygen and nutrients back to the heart. In healthy leg veins, one-way valves allow blood to move only in one direction: towards the heart. In order to do this, when you walk, your leg muscles squeeze the deep veins of your legs and feet pushing the non-oxygenated blood back to the heart.
In your veins there are one-way valves that are placed about one inch apart that keep blood flowing in the right direction. When your leg muscles relax, the valves inside your veins close preventing the backward flow of blood back down the legs.
There are three types of veins in your legs: superficial veins, which lie close to the skin, deep veins, which lie in or beneath the muscles, and perforating veins, which connect the superficial to the deep veins. Deep veins bring the blood back to the major vein in your abdomen called the vena cava, which brings the blood straight to the heart.
Vein disease is caused when a valve in your vein does not circulate blood to your heart. This causes blood to flow backward and pool in your legs, leading to uncomfortable or painful symptoms. Damaged or weakened valves can make the surrounding valves work harder, contributing to more valves malfunctioning.
While vein venous insufficiency itself is not life-threatening, it can cause pain, cramping, or swelling that affects your quality of life. If left untreated, vein disease can lead to more serious conditions, including venous ulcers or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
What Causes Vein Disease?
There are various aspects that may influence the development of vein disease such as:
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time – staying in the same position does not promote healthy blood flow
- Current or former smokers – smoking weakens your veins, reducing blood flow
- Lack of exercise – living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscles not being able to pump blood successfully
- Family history – If either one or both of your parents have had vein disease, your risk increases exponentially.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Anyone can develop this common venous condition; however, risk factors that may increase your risk include:
- People over the age of 50 – age puts more strain on your veins causing them to weaken over time
- Women – hormone changes make women more at risk than men
- Pregnancy – increased blood volume during pregnancy can enlarge your veins
- Obesity – extra weight can put more pressure on your veins
- Family history of blood clots or vein disease – genetics plays a key role in the development of vein disease
- High blood pressure – can increase your risk of vein valves malfunctioning
Find Relief at USA Vein Clinics
At USA Vein Clinics, we offer non-surgical, office-based procedures to treat venous insufficiency. Once you schedule your appointment, you will meet with one of our vascular specialists who will diagnose your condition and will provide the best treatment option for your condition. Our staff will be available throughout the procedure and recovery process to answer all of your questions.
If you are ready to find relief from vein disease, use our online scheduler or call 888.768.3467 to schedule an appointment today.