Venous disease is a medical condition that develops when the veins in the legs become weak and the tiny valves inside the veins are not able to help the heart push the blood against gravity up the legs and back to the lungs. There are several causes for venous disease, but the most common causes include heredity and a sedentary lifestyle.
The veins rely on the heart and leg muscles to keep the blood moving up the legs. If the vein walls remain strong and the valves work properly, venous disease may not develop. The valves are like little gates that open to let the blood through and close to keep it from flowing backward. When they become weak, they allow some blood to flow backwards, which then pools in the vein. When the veins do not work properly, the blood increases and starts to stretch the vein, causing it to bulge and twist. This is the beginning of varicose veins, which can become quite large and uncomfortable on the ankles, calves and thighs.
The most common causes of venous disease include the following:
Heredity: if your parents or grandparents had varicose veins, there is a high probability that you will develop them.
Obesity: excess weight puts pressure on the veins in the legs, making it necessary for the heart to overwork. Gradually, the veins become weak and fail to function properly.
Lifestyle: long-term sitting and long-term standing can put pressure on the legs and make them weak.
Hormonal changes: pregnancy, menopause and puberty can all put women at a higher risk.
Venous disease may be developing before the varicose veins become apparent. Some symptoms that may occur in the early stages include the following:
• Swelling in the calves and ankles
• Intense itching for no apparent reason
• Heavy feeling in the legs
• Darkening of the skin on the ankles and calves
• Sores on the legs that are difficult to heal
Fortunately, we offer many types of treatments for venous disease. Minimally invasive treatments include procedures such as Venefit™. We may also first recommend prescription compression stockings to help improve the look and feel of the affected veins.
If early venous disease is not treated, it may develop into more serious issues such as blood clotting, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Large skin ulcers may form that do not heal and could bleed profusely, causing serious blood loss.
Venous disease may be relatively harmless in the beginning and easily treated with compression stockings, lifestyle changes and minimally invasive treatments. If left untreated, it could lead to more serious complications. During your initial consultation with the experts at The Vein Center, we can develop a personalized treatment plan specially tailored for your situation and needs. Located in Mt. Pleasant, we proudly serve the area with comprehensive and effective vein therapy. To learn more about your treatment options for venous disease, call our office today and schedule your consultation.