What Causes Vein Disease?
Venous insufficiency occurs when a valve fails to function as designed. Sometimes the valves become damaged or diseased causing blood to flow backwards (reflux) or causing blood to pool in your legs (stasis). This condition can lead to very pain and discomforting symptoms such as pain, aching, throbbing, fatigue, skin changes, lesions, heaviness, itching/cramping and varicose veins. If vein disease is left untreated, symptoms can worsen and lead to chronic venous insufficiency. According to the ACP, over 40 million Americans both men and women, will develop a form of vein disease at one point in their lives.
Early symptoms may seem minor. However, if left untreated they can become more serious and even life threatening. It is important to be aware of symptoms and seek medical advice at the earliest sign of a problem.
Vascular conditions affect the veins and arteries in your body, which conduct oxygen to every living cell. Veins and arteries are like highways. When there is a road block or traffic jam, trouble ensues. In most cases, vascular conditions are treatable, often without surgery.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency is a catch-all phrase applied to a number of disorders that affect the veins and valves in the veins. These disorders interfere with blood flow, causing pools and leading to a variety of symptoms including spider veins, varicose veins, and other changes in the skin. There are several symptoms to look out for and can include:
- Pain or cramps in the legs
- Spider veins and varicose veins
- Venous leg ulcer
Chronic Venous Insufficiency is a progressive condition and symptoms do increase in severity as the condition goes on.
If you think you may have a venous insufficiency condition call us today to schedule a consultation.
Spider Veins (Telangiectasis)
Spider veins are small veins varying in red, purple, and blue vessels that twist and turn. This type of vein is easily visible through the skin and commonly found on the face and legs. Similar to their larger counterparts (varicose), valve failure of these smaller veins cause blood to flow backward to the surface. This process is called reflux – where the veins become larger and visible. Spider veins develop in persons who inherit the condition from their parents. Although Spider Veins can cause discomfort they do not lead to more serious complications associated with varicose veins. If spider veins are exposed to the sun, further collagen tissue damage can occur.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins are predominantly caused by genetic factors. There is a host of factors that can cause spider veins including:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, menopause)
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. Typically, these veins develop in the legs and are visible through the skin. These veins are an inherited condition and develop either alone or alongside of spider veins. These bulging veins most commonly arise from internal valve failure. When the internal valve loses its seal over time, blood begins to flow backwards also known as reflux. This causes the veins to protrude to the surface, creating unsightly and painful symptoms. Symptoms could include aching, restlessness, itching and heaviness. Varicose veins if left untreated, can lead to complications that include ulcers, dermatitis, pigmentation, or thrombosis.
What causes Varicose veins?
Varicose veins are mainly a genetic inheritance, but lifestyle choices also play significant factors. Here is what can cause Varicose Veins:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Many women first develop varicose veins during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases, while the rate at which blood flows from your legs to your pelvis decreases. Increased progestin levels during pregnancy can result in dilated or opened veins. In addition, as a woman’s uterus grows, it puts pressure on the inferior vena cava (large vein on the right side of the body that carries blood. Generally, varicose veins usually diminish 3 months to a year after giving birth.
Asclera is the only sclerosant with a specific FDA-approved indication to treat spider and reticular veins. This agent is polidocanol. A highly predictable and effective agent that provides uniform and consistent results.
VARITHENA (polidocanol injectable foam) is a sclerosing agent indicated for the treatment of incompetent great saphenous veins, accessory saphenous veins, and visible varicosities of the great saphenous vein (GSV) system above and below the knee. VARITHENA improves the symptoms of superficial venous incompetence and the appearance of visible varicosities.
This procedure involves insertion of a small catheter with a heat coil at the tip which is then directly inserted into the affected vein with the guidance of ultrasound technology. The catheter will deliver radiofrequency heat energy into the vein walls which will close the vein and stop blood flow to the various veins. The catheter is then safely removed and a bandage will be applied to the insertion site. Prior to the procedure, patients will be administered a local anesthetic to ensure comfort throughout the procedure.
Downtime is minimal with most patients being able to return to regular activities shortly after. To ensure healthy blood flow and healing, the patient will wear compression stockings for two weeks after the removal of bandages.
After the procedure patients can expect symptoms to improve dramatically within a few days. The discomfort previously experienced due to varicose veins will be gone.
As featured on “The Dr. Oz Show,” the VenaSeal closure system is the most recent innovation in the treatment of varicose veins that is minimally invasive and very safe. This procedure is the use of a medical glue known as VenaSeal to shut the main defective vein. Once the vein is glued shut, it will undergo a hardening process and gradually be absorbed by the body. VenaSeal is the only non-tumecent, non-thermal, non-sclerosant procedure that uses a proprietary medical adhesive delivered endo-venously to close the vein.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is performed for the removal of large or medium sized superficial varicose veins. Miniscule linear incisions or punch holes are made on the surface of the skin to allow easy removal of vein. Since the incisions are so small, stitches are not required leaving a cosmetically satisfying result. The patient may experience minimal pain during the procedure which can be relieved by a mild sedation and local anesthesia.
Although the large vein is being removed, there is no effect on the blood flow or circulation on the leg. In fact, blood flow will be more efficient while the bulge in the leg is removed.
Downtime is minimal with limited restrictions – many patients may be able to return to work the same day.