Vein disease or venous insufficiency is a common condition that affects half of the people over the age of 50 in the United States. Women are more prone to develop it because it is related to hormones. When veins become weak, they fail to help push the blood against gravity and back to the heart. The tiny valves that prevent the blood from flowing backwards become weak. The blood starts to pool in the veins, causing them to enlarge. Blood clots may develop that can be life-threatening if they break away and move to the heart or lungs.
Vein screening is a non-invasive process that is usually done on the legs. It will tell you if you are at risk for developing venous insufficiency and can detect the early signs of vein issues before they become serious problems and require medical treatment. If you have symptoms of venous insufficiency, we recommend that you meet with our specialist and have a vein screening.
Some of the most common symptoms of the early stages of vein disease are:
• Swelling in the lower legs and ankles
• Cramping in the legs, especially at night
• Aching in the lower legs
• Itching for no apparent reason in the lower legs
• Discoloring of the skin on the lower legs and ankles
• Leg sores that do not easily heal
You may not have all of the above symptoms, but if you have even one, it may be time for a vein screening at our office. During a consultation with our specialist, your venous issues may be examined and, if any treatment is needed, the right one may be recommended. You can expect to give information about any medical issues or medications you may be taking.
While varicose veins and spider veins may not pose a serious health problem at first, they could develop into serious problems later if they are not treated. Along with symptoms, another reason to have a vein screening is if you have any of the risk factors of venous insufficiency. Some of the risk factors are:
• Heredity is the most common risk factor because if your parents or grandparents have venous insufficiency, there is a very good chance you will develop it too.
• Age is a risk factor because venous insufficiency is more common in middle-aged and older adults.
• Obesity is a major risk factor because the excess weight causes the heart to work faster to keep the blood moving. Constant overwork weakens the veins and the heart.
• Lifestyle habits are risk factors if you have extended periods of sitting or standing. The heart has to overwork in both cases.
• Smoking weakens veins and blood vessels.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a vein screening or you are starting to show signs of venous insufficiency, make an appointment at Premier Vein Institute. Once a year may be enough for a person who does not have any symptoms or risk factors, but for others, we may recommend having a vein screening every six months. For your convenience, we have offices in Tampa, Riverview and Lakeland. Contact us today to schedule a vein screening!