A vein screening, or venous screening, is an assessment done to determine the patient’s chances of developing vein disease, which is extremely common. About 10 to 35 percent of American adults have disorders affecting their leg veins. Over 100,000 Americans die every year from blood clots that reach their lungs.
What Does a Vein Screening Involve?
A vein screening is a complimentary outpatient service done to assess the health and functioning of the patient’s veins. While vein disease can cause obvious symptoms like pain or spider or varicose veins, it can also cause no symptoms at all until it is relatively advanced.
During the first part of the screening, the patient will fill out a questionnaire about their medical history. It will cover such items as medical conditions or medications that can increase the risk of developing vein disease.
The second part of the screening usually consists of an ultrasound exam. The venous expert will concentrate on the patient’s legs, for they are the most likely site of vein disease. They will use an ultrasound machine to look for blockages and signs of congestion or slowed blood flow. After finishing the ultrasound, the doctor will discuss the results of the screening with the patient.
Why Does Vein Disease Usually Involve the Legs?
Veins carry blood from the body to the heart to pick up oxygen, while arteries carry blood from the heart to the body to distribute it. That means that the veins traveling up the legs have to work against gravity to keep the blood flowing towards the heart.
Veins have valves that keep the blood flowing in the proper direction. If those valves stop working correctly, the blood starts going in both directions. It may also pool within the vein, and that can cause the blood cells to clump together and form a clot.
What is Venous Thromboembolism?
Venous thromboembolism is a blood clot in the vein. It is related to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, both of which can be life-threatening. While anybody can develop a venous thromboembolism, they are most common in patients who are at least 60 years old.
After forming in the vein, a blood clot can break loose and travel to another part of the body. A blood clot that reaches the brain can cause a stroke, while one that reaches the heart might cause a heart attack.
Risk Factors of Vein Disease
Certain traits and lifestyles increase the chances of developing vein disease. They include the following:
• Age – Vein disease is more common in middle-aged or older adults
• Heredity—A susceptibility to vein disease can run in families
• Obesity – Being overweight forces the veins to work harder
• Occupation – Jobs that require sitting or standing for hours on end increase the risk of vein disease
• Hormones – The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills can affect the veins
• Genetic defects
• Prolonged immobility – Blood clots are more likely to develop in people who are confined to their bed for a long time
Could a Vein Screening Benefit You?
With locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Riverview and Lakeland, Premier Vein Institute is here for you. Don’t take any chances when it comes to your health. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to have a vein screening, or to learn more about our treatment options.