vein disease in legs

 

Did you know that one in every two people will develop vein disease in their lifetime? Vein disease in legs is one of the most commonly misunderstood medical conditions today. Many people think that it only affects older individuals, but this isn’t the case at all. In fact, vein disease can affect anyone, at any age. So what exactly is it? And more importantly, how can you tell if you have it?

Keep reading to learn more about vein disease in legs and find out if you might be at risk.

 

What is Vein Disease?

Vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency is a condition of impaired or blocked blood flow from the veins. This can happen anywhere in the legs but usually happens lower down near to the ankle. It occurs when the valves in the veins that pump blood upwards are damaged and lose their effectiveness, causing blood to pool in these veins, thus creating varicose veins and many different symptoms.

This is a very common problem, with varicose veins affecting more than 25 million adults in the United States and more than 6 million with more advanced venous disease, according to AHA Journals. In more extreme cases this chronic blood stagnation can lead to ulcers and other complications including cellulitis and blood clots. Varicose veins may be symptomless for some time, however, if left untreated they usually get worse over time.

 

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Vein Disease in Legs

Knowing the symptoms of vein disease is important for getting early treatment and preventing further complications. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away: 

  • Leg or ankle pain 
  • Swelling in your feet or ankles 
  • A feeling of heaviness in your legs 
  • Itchy skin on your legs 
  • Pain on the upper thigh/buttock area while standing up after sitting for a period of time
  • Varicose veins or spider veins 

Diagnosis of vein disease is usually done with a physical examination and ultrasound. During the physical examination, your doctor will look for spider veins, varicose veins, swelling, and skin discoloration. An ultrasound will help to determine the health of your veins and whether they are functioning properly. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to see a doctor who can diagnose the problem and provide treatment.

 

Treatment for Vein Disease in Legs

There are several treatments available for vein disease. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to discuss your options with your doctor to find the treatment that is right for you. Some of the treatments include:

  • Laser Ablation: Laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser to destroy the vein. The laser is inserted through a tiny incision near the vein and is then used to heat and destroy the vein. This procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and does require local anesthesia.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy the vein. This procedure is also typically done on an outpatient basis and does require local anesthesia.
  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical treatment that involves injecting a chemical foam into the veins under ultrasound guidance. This causes the vein to collapse. This treatment can be done in a doctor’s office and does not require any anesthesia.
  • Vein Stripping: Vein stripping is a surgical procedure that removes the veins from your leg. This surgery is performed in a hospital setting, and you will likely need general anesthesia.
  • Microphlebectomy: Microphlebectomy is a surgical procedure that removes veins from your leg through tiny incisions. This surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis and does require local anesthesia.

Treatment is important to prevent these problems and improve quality of life. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you.

 

Prevention and Tips to Avoid Vein Disease In Legs

Vein disease in the legs can lead to serious health problems, and it’s important that you take steps to prevent it. We recommend starting with these 4 easy tips for preventing vein disease in your legs:  

 

1) Exercise regularly to promote proper vein blood flow by muscle contraction.

2) Keep blood pressure low (130/80 mmHg or less) by taking prescribed medication if necessary; and

3) Avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time. 

4) Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the veins.

 

If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related, schedule an appointment with our team today and we will help you get back on the right track. Vein disease can lead to more serious health issues – so don’t let it affect your life for too long! Book your consultation today!

© 2018 - Lawrence Schmetterer MD FACS Thoracic & Vascular Surgery