What is Venous Disease?
Venous disease describes a broad range of conditions including: varicose veins, deep venous thromboembolism (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency and other conditions impacting healthy circulation.
What are the symptoms of Venous Disease?
Patients can experience mild symptoms such as burning or cramping over varicose veins, or a heavy feeling in the legs from chronic venous insufficiency. They may also develop “thrombus” or clotting in one or more veins termed deep vein thrombosis when involving the veins within the limbs and superficial thrombophlebitis when involving one of the superficial veins. Ultrasound testing is performed to determine the presence or absence of venous thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, and chronic venous insufficiency.
In the U.S. it is estimated that 1 out of 4 people have some form of venous disease. It is also estimated that at least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins.
If left untreated, this can lead to more serious complications such as venous ulcerations, spontaneous venous hemorrhage and blood clots.
The most common causes include:
- Heredity (Most significant)
- Long Periods of sitting or standing
- Pregnancy/ Hormonal changes
- Blood clots
- Valve weakening
Venous reflux or venous insufficiency is used to describe the direction of blood flow. Reflux is blood flowing away from the heart down the legs in the wrong direction. Over time the refluxing blood begins to stretch the vein walls, increasing venous pressure and dilating veins that may be seen on the surface of the skin known as varicose or spider veins.
The common symptoms include:
- Tired Legs
- Restless Legs
Venous disease comes from the failure of vein valves. As demonstrated int he images above the vein on the left has a normal closing valve. The vein on the right however shows the blood leaking back down the vein as the valve is unable to close properly. This can lead to increased venous pressure and stretching of the vein walls, resulting in swelling and bulging veins.