Approximately 25 million US citizens currently suffer from venous disease. Otherwise known as venous insufficiency, venous disease is a condition that arises when the flow of blood through the veins is weak or otherwise inadequate. As a result, gravity causes blood to pool in the lower extremities, typically causing unsightly and potentially painful and harmful varicose veins.
These varicose veins (or “spider veins”) have weakened or damaged tissue walls that cannot effectively pump blood upward. While a normal vein includes a number of one-way valves that close to prevent blood from falling downward, a varicose vein contains valves that refuse to close completely. This condition severely limits the flow of blood back to the heart.
While mild forms of venous insufficiency present only cosmetic issues and/or mild discomfort, serious cases can be extremely painful and dangerous. In very extreme cases, venous disease can lead to limb loss or even death.
Venous Insufficiency Symptoms
In short, venous insufficiency is a serious condition that should be addressed by the vein doctors and/or vascular surgeons at a specialized vein clinic or an equivalent medical setting. Seek vein treatment immediately if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• Leg heaviness and/or fatigue
• Pain or tenderness (particularly along the course of a vein)
• Itching, burning, and/or throbbing
• Swelling and/or water retention
• Restless legs syndrome
• Bight cramps
• Restless legs
• Paresthesia (a tingling, prickling, or “pins and needles” sensation)
• Intolerance to exercise
Venous Insufficiency Causes
Individuals who are currently suffering from or have previously suffered from blood clots and varicose veins are at the highest risk of venous insufficiency. Blood clots cause venous insufficiency because they make it more difficult for blood to flow forward. They can also cause damage that can further restrict this flow. As previously stated, the weak walls and missing/impaired valves in varicose veins will cause blood to leak backwards and begin to pool in the legs.
Other factors and conditions that commonly contribute to venous insufficiency include:
• Muscle weakness and/or inactivity
• Leg injury/trauma
• Phlebitis (vein inflammation)
Because susceptibility to venous insufficiency is passed down from generation to generation, a family history of the condition also places patients at a significantly higher risk.
What to Do
Individuals who suffer from venous insufficiency should seek the help of a skilled and knowledgeable medical professional as soon as possible. Varicose vein treatment from a specialized clinic such as the St. Louis Vein & Endovascular can not only improve the appearance of your legs but prevent a range of dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions.