Venous Disease Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
What Is Venous Disease?
Venous disease is a broad term that describes a variety of conditions affecting the veins, including varicose veins, deep venous thromboembolism (DVT), and chronic venous insufficiency.
What Are the Symptoms of Venous Disease?
Symptoms of venous disease vary according to the particular condition.
They may include:
- An uncomfortable urge to move your legs, aka restless leg syndrome
- Difficult-to-treat leg ulcers
- Leg pain that starts when you walk and stops when you rest
- Legs feeling tight, painful, or itchy
- Painful muscle spasms or cramps in the legs
- Skin discoloration, typically near the ankles
- Swelling in the legs and/or ankles
- Varicose veins and spider veins
Patients may also develop clotting in one or more veins due to deep vein thrombosis or superficial thrombophlebitis.
What Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Chronic venous insufficiency is when the veins in your leg no longer allow proper blood flow. The condition is also called venous reflux. The word “reflux” refers to blood flowing away from the heart. Over time, this causes the blood to collect and pool in your legs.
Failure to treat chronic venous insufficiency may cause the symptoms listed above.
Diagnosing Venous Disease
Diagnostics vary according to the particular condition. For example, we employ ultrasound testing to diagnose the following conditions:
- Venous thrombosis
- Chronic venous insufficiency
A physical exam is often enough to diagnose conditions like spider veins and varicose veins. However, imaging may be ordered to rule out other issues.
What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
The most common causes of venous insufficiency are obesity, pregnancy, and a family history of the condition.
Other causes include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in one of the deep veins in your calf or thigh)
- Phlebitis (swelling or inflammation of veins near the skin’s surface)
- Extended periods of sitting or standing
- Lack of physical activity
You may also develop chronic venous insufficiency if you experience an injury to the leg, undergo surgery, or have a history of blood clots.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency Treatment
We discuss a variety of factors when determining your treatment options. What is your current state of overall health? How old are you? What is your medical history? What symptoms are you experiencing? Answering these questions helps Dr. Favata determine the type of treatment that would be most successful.
Treatment options include:
- Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising, moving around every 30 minutes, and elevating your legs when seated or lying down. These all help reduce the pressure on your veins.
Compression stockings improve blood flow by exerting slight but steady pressure on your legs.
- Sclerotherapy involves injecting the affected vein with a solution that causes the vein to close.
- EVLT (endovenous laser therapy) closes the vein by shrinking it with a laser.
- Micro-phlebectomy is reserved for larger, tortuous varicose veins. It requires an anesthetic as Dr. Favata removes the vein via a small incision.
Of course, we always consider your wishes, collaborating on the best treatment plan for your unique needs.