Vein disease occurs when the small valves in the veins that help the blood move back to the heart become weak and cease to function properly. When this becomes chronic, the vein walls also become weak and the blood starts to pool in the veins, causing varicose veins. This is called venous insufficiency and is a long-term condition.
You may be developing venous insufficiency and not have visible varicose veins on your legs. However, you will most likely be experiencing some vein disease symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- The feeling that your legs are swollen. They may also feel heavy and have pain or cramps in the calves.
- Blood collecting in your feet and ankles that may cause skin discoloration. Brown patches may appear on your feet and lower legs.
- Leg ulcers may begin to appear in the places where the swollen veins get close to the surface of the skin. These ulcers can be very serious because they are difficult to heal, and if they are large and burst, the person can lose a lot of blood.
There are no identifiable causes of venous disease, but there are risk factors. The most common risk factor for varicose veins is heredity. If anyone in your family has varicose veins, there is a very good chance you will develop them too. Gender is another risk factor because women are more prone to develop varicose veins than men are. This is partly because pregnancy, puberty and birth control pills are also connected with varicose veins. Age is another factor as people older than 50 may already have weak veins, so they are more susceptible to develop varicose veins.
Other risk factors are more connected to venous insufficiency and include prolonged sitting or standing. People who work in professions that require this are at higher risk for developing venous insufficiency. For example, nurses, teachers, office workers and retail salespersons usually spend hours standing or sitting. Obesity is another condition that blocks good blood flow to the legs. When the legs have to work harder to push the blood back to the heart, they gradually become weak.
The veins that have developed venous insufficiency cannot be cured, but there are treatments for varicose veins that can permanently remove the veins from your legs. During a consultation with our specialist, you may learn more about your vein disease symptoms as well as your options for treatment. We may recommend that you make lifestyle changes to ensure that other veins do not become affected. For example, if you are obese, you may need to lose weight, and if your job is high risk, you may need to walk or sit more at regular intervals.
When you begin to suspect that you are having problems in the veins of your legs because you have one or more of the above vein disease symptoms, a conversation with our specialist at Premier Vein Institute should help. If the problem is diagnosed and treated early, it may not develop into large, swollen veins. We have locations in Tampa, Riverview and Lakeland. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.