What is vein disease?
Veins are blood vessels that return blood to the heart from the body. They have one way valves that keep blood flowing in one direction. These valves often do not work properly and when they do not function properly can cause “reflux” or back flow in the veins. The blood then begins to pool when this happens and can cause a variety of problems and symptoms.
What are the different types of vein disease?
Spider veins are the small fine, blue or purple veins that are often seen on the skin surface. Many people seek treatment of these veins for cosmetic reasons. More than 50% of people have symptoms even with these small veins. Often they require therapy. Varicose veins are the large rope-like veins that are often seen in people’s legs. These grow over time and can result in a great deal of pain and swelling.
How do I know if I have vein disease?
Often the veins are visible on the skin surface. Sometimes people have pain or swelling in the legs or skin changes. The skin can become darker and start scaling over time. These people may require an ultrasound to see the veins and diagnose their specific problem.
Who should not be treated?
You should wait at least 2 months after pregnancy or major surgery before being treated for vein disease. Patients with suppressed immune systems, those with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, clotting disorders or who are immobile may not be good candidates for vein treatment.
What can happen if veins aren’t treated?
Varicose veins generally worsen over time. At first you’ll feel slight pain, restlessness, heaviness or aching in the diseased leg. If left untreated, this pain will increase and the legs will feel heavy, tired and swell and become more and more discolored. Eventually, this can lead to open sores or ulcers on the ankles which can take several months to years to treat.