Vein Disease

Venous Reflux Disease

Your body contains approximately 60,000 miles of veins, which are blood vessels that pump blood back to the heart, as opposed to arteries which carry blood away from the heart. The veins in the legs have a tough job; they must defy gravity to get the blood back to the heart. This is especially true for someone who spends long periods of time on their feet. Veins contain valves which help to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. When these valves become damaged, they no longer close properly causing blood to pool in the legs and the vein to become enlarged which damages the valves even more. These enlarged veins, known as varicose veins, look blue in color and bulge under the skin. This condition of blood flowing back down the leg is also known as venous reflux disease.

What Causes Vein Disease and Varicose Veins?

There can be many factors that contribute to vein disease, including:

  • Heredity- Weak vein valves often run in families. Almost 50% of varicose vein sufferers have a family member who also has them.
  • Age- The valves in the veins become weaker over time and as you age may not function as well.
  • Long Periods of Standing- Standing for prolonged periods puts pressure on the veins, as well as causing them to work harder to fight gravity and pump blood back up to your heart.
  • Long Periods of Sitting- Lack of movement can result in poor blood flow. Crossing your legs when you sit can make this problem worse.
  • Weight- Carrying extra weight puts extra pressure on your veins.
  • Hormones- Hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control have been linked to the forming of spider and varicose veins.

Why Should Varicose Veins Be Treated?

Varicose veins are much more than just a cosmetic inconvenience. These swollen veins can be painful, especially when standing as the vein is withstanding a lot of pressure. Varicose veins can also lead to swollen and throbbing limbs, heaviness of limbs, cramping, thickening of the skin, skin rashes and ulcers, and fatigue. This may reduce one’s activity level, which has further negative impact on cardiovascular health.

The visible varicose veins are the larger veins close to the surface of the skin. These are generally greater than 3mm in diameter. However, small veins can be affected as well. These are known as spider veins and are usually less than 1mm in diameter. Most of the veins are well below the skin’s surface, and therefore not seen with the naked eye. This is why ultrasound is used to identify and determine the extent to which the veins in your legs are affected by vein disease.

Advanced Imaging Technology Used in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

At the Heart Vein & Vascular (HVV) in Longwood, we use an advanced high resolution diagnostic ultrasound to diagnose the severity of your condition. We offer many types of treatments for varicose and spider veins, including conservative vein treatments and the minimally invasive VNUS Closure® procedure. HVV will provide you with a thorough evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for you depending on your lifestyle and severity of your varicose veins. We believe patients should be educated on their condition and treatment, and do not simply treat for cosmetic purposes.

Call or Contact the Longwood Heart Vein & Vascular Disease today to learn more about which treatment option is best for you.

At Heart Vein & Vascular, we are pleased to offer the VNUS Closure® procedure, in addition to other treatment modalities for comprehensive management of vein disease. The Closure procedure is a minimally invasive treatment alternative for patients with a condition known as superficial venous reflux, which often results in varicose veins and other painful symptoms. Varicose veins are known for their distinctive blue color and bulging appearance under the skin. They afflict an estimated 10%-20% of the adult population. In the United States, that translates into 20-25 million people, the majority of whom are women.

About Venous Disease: Understanding Superficial Venous Reflux

Your legs are made up of a network of veins. Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart. Venous reflux disease develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. This can cause blood to pool in your legs and lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, swollen limbs, leg heaviness and fatigue, skin changes and skin ulcers, and varicose veins. The same disease process can affect veins of any size; however when larger veins fail they are typically called varicose veins. When smaller veins are affected, they are typically called spider veins. Pain in the legs is frequently related to damaged or diseased veins. Varicose veins may also compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to dermatitis or a rash, discoloration, or even ulceration of the lower leg. Contrary to common belief, most veins lie deep to the skin’s surface; vein disorders are now always visible to the naked eye. As a result, diagnostic. As a result, diagnostic ultrasound is often used to determine the cause and severity of the problem. One of the many services we provide is this advanced high resolution ultrasound imaging used to diagnose this condition.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Some predisposing factors include aging, standing, occupations, and leg injury or trauma. Heredity is the number one contributing factor that causes varicose and spider veins. Women are more likely than men to suffer from abnormal leg veins. Up to 55% of American women may be affected in their lifetime. Hormonal factors seen during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and the use of birth control pills affect the disease. It is common for varicose veins to become more prominent during pregnancy and worse with successive pregnancies.

Read more about Varicose Veins and the Treatment For Varicose Veins via the Journal of the American Medical Association handouts below:

Varicose Veins

Treatment of Varicose Veins

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