Veins are thin-walled vessels with a a specific purpose which is to carry blood from various body parts back to the heart in one direction. Lower extremity veins are equipped with special valves to prevent pooling of blood in the legs due to gravity effect.
The heart delivers oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues via arteries and receives deoxygenated blood back via veins. Veins can be classified as superficial and deep. The former are vessels found closer to the skin while the latter are located deep under the muscle layer and cannot be visualized.
As the veins become fragile with time, the valves begin to function abnormally. The blood tends to flow in the opposite direction back the feet, causing damage to the walls of the veins. Eventually, this adds more pressure to the veins and they begin to bulge, twist, or branch out causing various diseases.
The blood flow is affected and leads to potential clot formation. A set of such diseases are called venous (vein) diseases.
Apart from old age, other factors make them more susceptible or prone to getting vein diseases. These risk factors are listed below.
• Family history of varicose veins and vein disease. This is the most important risk factor.
• If you’re a female – you are naturally at a higher risk to develop vein disease.
• Being obese or overweight.
• History of multiple pregnancies.
• Smoking is directly linked to venous diseases.
• Prolonged standing or being on your feet all the time due to work could make you more prone to vein diseases.
• Hormonal therapy or birth control pills.
• Other risk factors include cardiovascular diseases, an inactive lifestyle, any history of leg injuries, etc.
There is a wide range of symptoms for vein diseases both visible and functional. Some symptoms can be seen visibly while others are observed through few changes in the body or discomfort, etc.
The common symptoms include:
• Dark or purple-coloured veins.
• Twisted and tortuous veins.
• Blow-out of bulging veins.
• Leg achiness, cramping, heaviness, burning, itching or numbness.
• Leg swelling or edema that is worse at the end of the day.
• Calf pain after standing for few minutes.
• Chronic pelvic pain with no clear reason (Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome).
• Blood clots in your legs or arms without any recent injury.
• Unable to walk without pain or discomfort.
• Brownish pigmentation of the skin near the ankles and legs (Lipodermatosclerosis).
• Ulceration in the legs.
• Restless leg syndrome and feel the constant need to move or shake your legs.
• Calf spasms (Charley horses) commonly during the night
• Chronic Pelvic Pain or discomfort.
TYPES OF VEIN DISEASES
Telangiectasia (also known as “spider veins”) are enlarged or broken blood vessels near the skin’s or mucous membranes’ surface. They frequently show as fine pink or red segments that whiten briefly when pressed. Spider veins are usually a cosmetic concern that can be easily treated with liquid sclerotherapy or skin laser treatments. Spider veins don’t always require treatment.
However, they can also be an early sign of underlying more serious Venous Insufficiency. Unexperienced cosmetic clinics often sell cosmetic treatments to patients without prior ultrasound to rule out underlying Venous Insufficiency. This leads to quick recurrence of spider veins and delay necessary treatment.
2. RETICULAR VEINS
Reticular veins are a slightly larger veins that are visible from the skin’s surface and are purple to blue. They are usually feeders into other smaller veins and can often lead to a blow-out which causes bleeding and pain.
3. VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins are veins that are twisted and enlarged >3mm in diameter. Varicose veins can develop in any vein that is close to the skin’s surface (superficial). Varicose veins are most commonly found in the legs but can also occur on the abdomen or genitals if left untreated.
Venous edema is the medical term for swelling caused by vein problems. Most cases of leg swelling are caused due to vein disease. Swelling occurs when fluid leaks out of the veins, caused by blood pooling and increased pressure inside the vein.
Compression stocking are usually recommended by your primary physician to decrease the swelling. However, compression stocking are uncomfortable and are often not sufficient to provide long term relief.
5. VENOUS ULCERATION
Ulcers are open sores on the skin. Typically occur with advanced untreated venous diseases. This common occurs when diagnosis is delayed. It is necessary to seek medical counselling early.
Venous ulcers occur due to poor circulation and inability to heal damaged skin. These ulcers do not heal easily and require special wound care. Prevention is better than cure.
6. SKIN CHANGES
Blood pooling (Venous Stasis) and mounting pressure in the veins can cause the skin to tan or turn reddish-brown over time. Skin changes are frequently first noticed around the ankle, beginning on the inside of the ankle but they also occur over the shins and on the foot.
Once again, prevention is better than cure as these changes are often irreversible.
7. RESTLESS LEG
Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is characterised by an insatiable need to move the legs to alleviate a numbing or unpleasant feeling in the legs. The root causes of restless legs syndrome are complex and frequently difficult to pinpoint.
Restless leg syndrome might occasionally have underlying venous insufficiency as its main cause.
8. CALF CRAMPING
Venous insufficiency could lead to muscle spasms or cramps, especially in the calves. It could cause severe cramps and pain making it difficult to move. This can severely affect your quality of life if as it occurs frequently.
9. DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot (thrombus) develops in one or more of the body’s deep veins, most commonly in the legs. As a result, you may experience leg pain or swelling can be caused. This can be life threatening and is a medical emergency.
10. Chronic Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain is commonly a frustrating and debilitating problem. Unexperienced treatment clinics often send patients to OB/GYN clinic assuming it’s a uterine problem, while it’s in fact a venous problem.
Pelvic Venous Congestion or Pelvic Congestion Syndrome occurs due to compression of the iliac vein in the abdomen and varicosities of the ovarian vein. A special pelvic venous doppler ultrasound is essential to diagnose these cases correctly.
We begin with comprehensive vein evaluation, starting from gathering complete history of your symptoms, medical history, risk factor. Complete physical exam is necessary to identify area of concerns. We also discuss your treatment goals and concerns. Next, Venous Doplex Ultrasound is performed as it’s the gold standard for initial evaluation.
It must be done by an experienced technician and interpreted by experienced vein doctor to avoid false positives and false negative. Utilizing ultrasound, we will create a Venous Map detailing your circulation flow, size of blood vessels, blood flow direction and speed.
Once all information is collected, our dedicated vein experts will devise a personalized plan that suits you specifically as each patient is different anatomically, physiologically and have different treatment goals. We will walk you through every step by step until you achieve the result you desire.
Treatment of Vein Disease used to be complicated and surgery used to be the only solution. The innovation of cutting-edge minimally invasive techniques dramatically transformed the landscape of vein treatments. It has never been more swift, safe and simple to treat Vein Disease that now. Utilizing office-based procedures with ultrasound guidance have been proven to achieve the best results for patients. Click Here for more info.