Understanding Vein Health & Vein Disease

What Is Vein Disease?

Healthy veins are responsible for returning oxygen-starved blood back to your heart. To do this, they have to fight against the force of gravity. That’s where tiny valves inside each vein normally help. If blood tries to flow backwards, the valves close tightly. Vein diseases cause valves to begin to leak or fail completely:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI): CVI means that several vein valves are starting to fail. This can cause blood to pool in the legs and feet.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): DVT happens when a blood clot forms in your arms or legs. Improperly functioning valves can contribute to this problem by allowing blood to pool. If you have varicose veins your chance of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is five times higher. DVT can migrate and cause a pulmonary embolism.
  • Pulmonary embolism: If a blood clot in the legs breaks loose, it can lead to a blockage of the pulmonary arteries. This life-threatening condition doesn’t allow the lungs to work correctly.
  • Spider veins: When blood pressure increases, it can cause these tiny veins to become visible under the skin. These twisting blood vessels can appear bright red, purple or blue.
  • Varicose veins: Similar to spider veins, varicose veins are also caused when blood vessels swell. The difference is that varicose veins are larger and more prominent.

Healthy vein valves are important for maintaining circulation in the right direction making sure your blood receives oxygen for body tissues. Vein diseases appear when these tiny valves start to malfunction.

What Symptoms Will I Experience?

As blood vessels start to swell, it can lead to aching or throbbing pain. Here are a few additional warning signs:

  • Painful legs and feet
  • Bulging veins
  • Swollen ankles
  • Itching legs
  • Hot or burning ankles
  • Heaviness in the feet
  • Skin that looks discolored or thick

These are indications that you may have varicose veins or CVI. If you notice any signs of pulmonary embolism, such as sharp chest pain, sudden difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, cold skin, fever or leg pain, contact a doctor immediately.

Are There Any Risk Factors?

Vein disease may have hereditary causes, so a family history of DVT or CVI can increase your risk. Other risk factors for CVI include being overweight, aging and previous blood clots. Women typically have a higher risk than men due to hormonal factors, and pregnancy further increases the likelihood of developing varicose veins because of higher blood flow.

Speak With Doctors You Can Trust

Vein disease is a very personal thing, but it’s not something you need to be ashamed of. Speaking with a doctor about CVI may allow you to find relief from spider veins and leg pain. With state-of-the-art vein treatment options, it’s often possible to correct CVI and prevent blood clots from forming. To learn more about how our team can help you personally, contact Gilvydis Vein Clinic for more information.