Over 40 million Americans suffer daily with painful, swollen legs as a result of venous disease. This condition is the result of faulty valves in the veins and is called Venous Insufficiency. In a healthy vein, there are one way valves that allow the blood to move toward the heart, but not away. In a diseased vein, these valves do not work properly, allowing the blood to fall downward in between heartbeats. This back and forth motion of blood leads to an increased venous blood pressure resulting in inflammation of the tissues around the vein. This inflammation can cause leg pain, swelling, bulging varicose veins, heaviness, restlessness, cramps, skin discoloration, numbness, tingling, ulcers, Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots. Left untreated, this condition only worsens over time.
- Swelling (peripheral edema)
- Varicose Veins
- Fatigue, heaviness in legs
- Restless legs
- Skin Changes including venous stasis ulceration
- Heredity / Family History
89% Chance if both parents had vein problems
Patients range from their teens to their mid nineties.
Venous disease worsens with age.
Women are three times more likely than men to develop varicose veins.
The chance of developing varicose veins increases with each pregnancy.
Obesity does increase the risk of venous disease, but only slightly.
- Standing Professions
Teachers, factory workers, and construction personnel are more likely to develop varicose veins. Inactivity aggravates venous problems.
The treatment for this disorder is called endovenous thermal ablation. This is a minimally invasive procedure where a catheter is inserted into the diseased vein by way of a small (2-3mm) incision. Heat is applied to the vein walls causing it to close. Your body then naturally re-routes the blood through other healthy veins. The procedure is done under local anesthetic and is covered by most insurance carriers, including Medicare. Patients walk out of the vein center and return to their normal activities the same day.
Spider veins are a result of dilated venous capillaries that fill with blood and become visible. These are not considered harmful and are often treated for cosmetic reasons. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the spider vein, which causes the vein wall to seal shut, therefore stopping the blood flow. The vein will turn to scar tissue and fade away over a period of weeks.