Do you have Venous Insufficiency? Signs and Symptoms of Vein Disease
Signs of Venous Insufficiency
Picture this–you’ve got a day off, and decide that you’re going to spend this beautiful free day in the great outdoors. You grab your friends and hit up a local park for an afternoon of hiking, biking, and walking through the wilderness. When you stop to rest, you notice that your legs feel like cement, and your shoes feel a little tight from swelling. Just thinking that you’re out of shape, you continue with your outdoor adventures. However, when you get home that evening, it’s clear that this is more than just a case of being tired and sore. You see some veins on your legs that you’ve noticed before, but today they are bulging and blue. Could these veins be the source of your leg discomfort?
Signs of Venous Insufficiency:
- Spider veins and Varicose veins: Visible leg veins are signs of venous insufficiency.
- Heaviness: A sense of weight and fatigue in your legs at the end of the day is another sign of venous insufficiency.
- Cramping: calf cramps, known as charley horses, can be a sign of venous insufficiency.
- Restlessnes: Restless legs, particularly at the end of a long day, can be a sign of venous insufficiency
- Pain: A dull aching pain in your legs at the end of the day can be a sign of venous insufficiency.
What is Venous Insufficiency?
Seeing varicose veins and spider veins on your body can be a bit unnerving at first. It feels as if they appeared out of nowhere! However, your body has likely been battling the signs of venous insufficiency for some time. To understand venous insufficiency, you first need to know about your body’s circulatory system. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body, while veins return blood back to your heart for re-circulation and re-oxygenation. Your veins have a difficult job working against gravity, so they get some help from your vein’s valves. When working properly, these one-way valves close tightly and keep your blood from moving back into the preceding vein.
Over time, your veins stretch and valves can become weakened, which leads to blood pooling in the previous vein. Why do veins stretch? Pregnancy, obesity, family genetics, or age can increase the pressure inside of the vein, leading to venous hypertension. In turn, venous hypertension weakens the vein valve, which causes venous insufficiency. Only a vein expert, such as the vein doctors at the Vein Treatment Center of New York and Vein Treatment Center of New Jersey can recognize signs of venous insufficiency and diagnose it with a painless duplex ultrasound examination.
How are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins Connected to Venous Insufficiency?
Leaky vein valves can begin like a dripping faucet– you tend to ignore the small droplets until the faucet fails and water won’t stop coming out! The reason why you see spider veins and varicose veins is because of chronic venous insufficiency. When the valves weaken and blood pools in your veins, it creates pathways that present themselves as spider veins or varicose veins. Spider veins are closer to the surface of your skin, are red or blue in appearance, and resemble a spider’s web. Varicose veins are larger in diameter, deeper under the skin’s surface, and look like a twisted rope.
Varicose veins and spider veins are signs of venous insufficiency. Common side effects of varicose veins and spider veins are leg discomfort, leg heaviness, itching around the veins, and swelling around your ankles and calves. Varicose veins and spider veins are a reminder that your leaky leg veins and vein walls are stretching, so you should visit a vein doctor to address your venous insufficiency.
What Can I Do to Prevent Venous Insufficiency?
Due to a combination of genetic factors, you may be predisposed to venous insufficiency and venous hypertension. You can thank you dad not only for your large ears, but also for your vein structure! While you can’t control your genetics, you can do a few things to improve your overall vein and heart health. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables, and getting regular vigorous exercise, you are setting lifestyle goals that will improve your overall vitality.
How Do I Treat Venous Insufficiency?
The only way to diagnose and treat venous insufficiency is to consult with a vein expert, such as the vein doctors at the Vein Treatment Center of New York and Vein Treatment Center of New Jersey. Even though venous insufficiency sounds like a scary diagnosis, there are several minimally-invasive methods used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. Our highly-trained vein specialists can recommend one of the following varicose vein treatments:
- Sclerotherapy: By injecting a small amount of Sclerosant (salt solution) into the affected vein, a natural clot is created. This forces the blood to re-route into a healthier vein, and eventually dissolves the varicose vein or spider vein.
- Radiofrequency Ablation: Thermal, heat-based energy is used to close the affected varicose vein, which will in turn become absorbed by the body.
- Venaseal: Also known as “vein glue”, this fast-acting seal fuses the vein wall together, forcing blood to find a new route. The affected varicose vein will eventually disappear
If varicose veins or spider veins are starting to affect your daily activities, it’s time to consult with the vein experts at the Vein Treatment Center of New York and Vein Treatment Center of New Jersey to see how their expertly-trained staff can help you regain confidence and improve your quality of life.
Dr. Michael Nguyen
VENOUS SPECIALIST | Harvard Medical School
Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist in Manhattan. He leads the team of vein doctors offering the highest level of care at the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York & New Jersey.
As a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, Dr. Nguyen is considered a top vein expert for developing minimally invasive and customized treatment plans for the many symptoms of venous insufficiency, including leg cramps, skin discoloration on legs, spider vein removal, and restless leg syndrome.