Vein Diseases Overview
In normal veins, there are one-way doors called valves scattered along the length of the vein. Blood flows past a valve and the valve closes preventing blood from leaking back down towards the feet. Over time valves can become leaky and excess blood accumulates below the valve putting increased pressure on the vein. The vein may swell and bulge, and new spider and varicose veins form.
At the initial stages of vein disease, signs and symptoms are usually minimal. Over time, however, leg discomfort tends to increase and more serious complications may develop.
Venous Insufficiency: Venous Insufficiency, also known as chronic venous insufficiency or chronic venous stasis, is a circulatory disorder of the veins in the legs. Inside the superficial veins in the legs are a series of valves, one-way doors that prevent blood from falling back down towards the feet. If the valves stop working properly, blood leaks downwards and the veins below the valves become full of excess blood. The increased pressure in these veins can lead to spider veins and varicose veins over time.
Venous insufficiency can ocur 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.
Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Causes of Spider and Varicose Veins
Veins bring deoxygenated blood back to the heart. They have one-way valves that prevent blood from falling back down towards the feet, a condition known as venous reflux. Overtime, venous reflux (also known as venous insufficiency) can cause spider veins and varicose veins to develop.
Types of Veins:
Superficial Veins: Superficial veins course within the skin or the fat and soft tissue directly underneath the skin. They are often visible. Superficial veins include varicose vеіnѕ, ѕріdеr vеіnѕ, and reticular vеіnѕ.
Deep Veins: Deep veins lie within the muscles of the legs and empty into veins within the pelvis. Deep veins are responsible for carrying the majority of blood in the legs back to the heart.
Perforator Veins: Perforator veins connect deep veins to superficial veins.
Treating venous insufficiency early may prevent long term complications related to this disease process. There are a variety of treatments available for vein disease. At our Spider Vein & Varicose Vein Clinic, we specialize in the latest in minimally invasive technologies used for venous insufficiency. We create individualized plans based on your unique venous anatomy. Visit our Varicose and Spider Vein Treatments sections to learn more.
Vein Treatment FAQ
Before any treatment is done, you will have a detailed outline of how much you will owe (if anything). We will work directly with your insurance company to help you get treated.
We work closely with insurance companies and you to ensure that there are no surprise bills or hidden costs.
Do I need a physician referral?
What should I bring to my initial consultation?
2. Photo ID.
3. Complete medical history. List of all prescriptions and over-the counter medication that you are taking.
4. List of allergies, including food and medical.
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