Vein disease is a catch-all term used to describe a number of different circulatory problems. These may include spider veins, varicose veins, venous insufficiency or phlebitis. Some of these conditions, like spider veins, are minor and mostly raise cosmetic issues, while others have the potential to be life-threatening. Vascular and interventional radiology specialists like Dr. Stephen Jung, of the Columbus Vein Center, can help you with vein disease.
Vein Disease: Varicose Veins
Many cases of vein disease occur for one simple reason: valve failure. Unlike arteries, in which blood moves with each beat of the heart, the veins rely on muscle contractions in the legs to pump against the flow of gravity. Small tissue flaps called valves are strategically positioned to prevent blood from flowing backward. Unfortunately, these valves can stop working properly, causing a condition called venous insufficiency and allowing the blood to pool and distend the veins, which results in varicose veins.
Vein Disease: Phlebitis and Blood Clots
Phlebitis occurs when the wall of the vein become inflamed. Venous insufficiency can contribute to phlebitis, but it can also occur as the result of irritation from an intravenous line or drug injections. Phlebitis in the legs increases the risk of blood clots developing in the large veins of the leg and pelvis. If the clot breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs and cause a potentially life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. You can also develop phlebitis without developing a blood clot. Phlebitis on its own is usually treated with rest and the application of heat, but a blood clot is treated with anticoagulant medications.
Vein Disease: Causes
Genetics may play a role in some vein diseases. Varicose veins, for example, tend to run in families. As people age, the risk of vein disease increases, especially venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Most people who suffer from these conditions are older, although women are more likely to develop problems in their 40s, while men don’t usually have trouble until they reach 70 or older. Women’s susceptibility can be influenced by pregnancy. Smokers, people who are obese or inactive and those who spend long hours on their feet are more likely to develop vein disease.
Vein Disease: Symptoms
Swelling in the ankles and feet is one of the most common symptoms of any kind of vein disease. Varicose veins may become distended and tortuous, clearly visible beneath the skin. Patients who have pain usually find it gets better when sitting with the legs raised but worse with standing. Some patients complain of itching, aching or throbbing in the legs, or a feeling of tightness around the calves.
If you have symptoms of vein disease or have previously been diagnosed with one of these problems, you can find help for your condition from Dr. Stephen Jung, at the Columbus Vein Center. We offer sclerotherapy, laser treatment and ambulatory phlebectomy as well as other services to residents of Columbus, Ohio. Please contact us today for an appointment.