While your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body, the veins carry it back to the heart to be replenished. Valves within your veins stop the blood from flowing backwards. When these valves malfunction, your veins will have difficulty transporting blood from your extremities back to the heart and create a condition known as venous insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis. Venous disease can cause blood to pool in the legs.
The most common causes of venous disease are previous blood clots and varicose veins. Blood clots cause an obstruction, which hinders circulation. Blood will build up behind the clot. With varicose veins, the valves within the veins may be impaired or malfunctioning completely. These issues may cause blood to leak in the wrong the direction. Weakened leg muscles may also fail to adequately pump blood back toward the heart. Other risk factors for venous disease include age, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, genetics and phlebitis, or the swelling of a superficial vein. Women are also at greater risk than men are. Long periods of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to venous disease.
Symptoms of venous disease include edema, or swelling of the lags and ankles, pain that intensifies when stand and leg cramps. Sufferers may also experience aching, throbbing and a feeling of heaviness in their legs. Other indications are itchy or weak legs, a thickening of the skin or a change in its color. Severe cases could lead to leg ulcers. Our doctor will diagnose the condition during a physical examination, which may include a series of diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of the problem. Our specialist may order imaging tests like a venogram and a duplex ultrasound.
Treatment will depend upon several factors, including the exact cause of your venous disease, your current health status and your medical history. Our doctor will also consider your age, the severity of the condition and your ability to tolerate various procedures and medications. We usually start with the most conservative approach first before moving to more aggressive treatments. Recommendations may include wearing compression stockings, refraining from crossing your legs while seated and getting regular exercise. More advanced treatment options include medications like diuretics and surgical procedures to repair the damaged vein. The goal is to improve blood flow in your legs and other extremities.
If you notice one or more symptoms of venous disease and are subject to one or more risk factors, visit The Vein Center in Mt. Pleasant to learn about your treatment options. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the greater the chance of a successful outcome. Resolving vein issues will improve your health and quality of life. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and find out which treatment is right for you.