What is Venous Insufficiency?
Symptoms of vein disease vary greatly, but should always be taken seriously. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in your legs, you may want to consider being evaluated by one of our vein specialists: swelling, aching pain – often worse at night, pruritus (itching of the legs), fatigue and/or heaviness, night cramps, restless legs, numbness or tingling, burning or throbbing veins, bulging or enlarged veins raised above the skin surface (varicose veins), or small red or blue often web-like veins found close to the skin surface (spider veins). Typically vein symptoms are worse later in the day, in hot weather, with long periods of standing or sitting, and improve with leg elevation or aerobic activity. Venous insufficiency may be present even in the absence of varicose or spider veins, and can still be helped by many of our procedures.
There are many potential causes of venous insufficiency, and research is ongoing to determine the true causes. Some potential causes are heredity, age, standing for long periods, trauma, pregnancy, and obesity.
Chronic venous insufficiency may have severe effects if left untreated. Skin color changes in the lower legs and around the ankles, called lipodermatosclerosis or stasis pigmentation, is a sign of damaged, unhealthy skin. This may lead to bleeding and bruising after only minor injuries, and ultimately to venous leg ulcers. Venous leg ulcers represent severe venous disease and are by far the most common form of ulcers affecting the lower extremities. Without treatment venous ulcers tend to be chronic, and have a significant impact on quality of life, causing disability and social impairment.
Varicose veins are swollen, bulging, abnormally enlarged veins that protrude from the surface of the skin. They typically have a twisted, rope or cord-like appearance and are blue or dark purple in color. When veins that are meant to carry blood towards the heart weaken and leak in the wrong direction, blood pools in the veins causing them to enlarge and form varicose veins. Veins anywhere in the body can become varicose, but the most commonly affected are those in the legs. This can be attributed to the increased pressure exerted on these veins from sustained walking, standing, and many other factors.
While varicose veins can be unsightly, they are more than just a cosmetic concern. They may also be indicative of underlying vein disease, which may become severe if left untreated. Aside from bulging veins, varicose veins may cause many significant symptoms including painful veins, leg fatigue, leg heaviness, swelling, itching, burning, and skin discoloration. Varicose vein symptoms usually get worse as the day progresses, and may be relieved somewhat by leg elevation and aerobic activity. Even those without visible varicose veins may still be symptomatic due to non-visible dilated veins exerting pressure on nerves.
At Metro Vein Centers we offer several vein treatment options using the latest technology to successfully treat varicose veins.
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are similar to varicose veins and occur near the surface of the skin, but are small and threadlike. They often look like spider webs or tree branches, have jagged edges that grow outward, and can be red, blue, or purplish in color. They can cover a small or large area of skin, and may enlarge over time. Spider veins may cause symptoms such as throbbing, aching, and itchy legs. Spider veins often appear in combination with varicose veins and share the same underlying causes.
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