Venous insufficiency can ocurr in men or women of any age, but women have a higher risk than men and vein disease tends to become more common with advancing age.
Varicose Veins: Varicose veins, also known as “Varicosities” are enlarged and unhealthy veins that usually arise due to high pressure in veins slightly deeper within the leg. Varicose veins may be torturous or twisted, and may bulge from under the skin. Varicose veins usually appear red or purple and can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the legs.
Many factors increase your risk of varicose vein disease including family history, obesity, advanced age, pregnancy, immobility, history of blood clots and gender.
Varicose veins are treated with conservative measures such as lifestyle changes and compression stockings. Minimally invasive procedures and lifestyle changes are effective if conservative measures fail.
Spider Veins: Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are groups of tiny blood vessels that form close to the skin surface. They are blu, red or purple in color. They can develop anywhere but are most common on the face and legs.
People at the age of 50 and above, are more likely to have spider veins than others. Spider veins and Varicose veins have so many things in common. Spider veins are usually smaller in size than varicose veins, but they’re sometimes located together.
Spider veins may be assymmptomatic (painless) or may trigger throbbing, swelling and restless legs.
There are several risk factors for spider veins. These risk factors include the following: Advanced age, pregnancy, obesity, hormone therapy (HT), prolonged sitting/standing, birth control pills, family history and history of blood clots.
Spider veins don’t always require treatment, but if you’re experiencing pain or other severe symptoms consider seeing a qualified vein specialist.
Leg Cramps: Leg cramps, also known as charley horses, occur when there is a forcible involuntary contraction of one of more of your leg muscles. Though generally harmless, leg cramps can make it temporarily impossible to use the affected leg and can impact quality of life if they occur frequently.
Long periods of exercise or strenous physical activity, especially in hot weather, can cause leg cramps. The most common cause of frequent leg cramps is venous insufficiency, and treating leg cramps requires treatment of the underlying vein disease.
Leg Swelling: Leg swelling, also known as peripheral edema, occurs due to an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the lower extremity. It is often more apparent in the lower areas of the body due to gravity. Leg swelling is most common in older adults.
Common causes of leg swelling include salt retention, pregnancy, congestive heart failure, cellulitis, venous insufficiency and medication side effects.
Leg swelling can be treated with conservative measures such as wraps or compressions stockings, but the best way to treat leg swelling is by addressing the underlying issue.
Leg Heaviness: Leg Heaviness can be due to multiple different causes, but the most common cause is chronic venous insufficiency, a circulatory disorder of the veins in the legs.
Leg heaviness due to vein disease tends to be worse with prolonged sitting or standing. Exercise usually improves symptoms, and heat makes them worse.
If you have noticed leg heaviness at the end of the day, particularly if you have visible spider and varicose veins on the surface of the skin, consider seeing a qualified vein doctor to be evaluated for venous insufficiency.
Restless Leg Syndrome: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by a persistent desire to move the legs. It is often considered a sleep disorder because it can interfere with sleep. It is often provoked by sitting/standing for a long period of time.
Restless leg syndrome occurs in both men and women, but women are at higher risk. It can start at any age. Most individuals who are seriously affected are older or middle-aged adults.
Restless legs syndrome can cause daytime sleepiness and exhaustion and may adversely affect your mood, focus, school or job performance, and personal relationships. Most people with RLS report having impaired memory, finding it hard to concentrate, or even fail to accomplish tasks.
Restless leg syndrome may be due to underlying venous insufficiency, so if you have symptoms or restless leg syndrome and visible veins, consider an evaluation from an experienced and qualified vein doctor.