What is Venous Disease?
Vein problems occur when valves in the veins become weak or malfunction. Because the valves prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction (reflux), when they do not work well, blood pools. This forces them to swell, giving them their rope-like and bumpy shape. The increased venous pressure from one faulty valve can lead to further failure of other vein valves and the development of varicose veins. Valves can become abnormal or incompetent for a variety of reasons including trauma, pregnancy, weight gain, or hereditary factors.
Varicose veins commonly appear on the legs as raised, ropy, enlarged veins caused by faulty vein valves. They can cause the legs to swell, throb, or ached and in severe cases, can lead to inflammation, ulceration and even blood clots.
Varicose veins are a progressive disease that can eventually lead to swelling of the ankle, hyperpigmentation (a darkening of skin in the area), ulcerations, bleeding, and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). It is important to seek medical treatment early to stop the progression of this disease and to achieve the best possible cosmetic results.
Spider veins appear as red or purple starbursts on the skin surface and can occur on the face, legs, or ankles. Normally a cosmetic concern, they can itch, burn, or ache and can be found alone or in combination with varicose veins.
Varicose veins are diagnosed by a Duplex Ultrasound, which shows how blood is flowing through blood vessels and measures the speed of the blood flow. It is often used to estimate the diameter of a blood vessel as well as any venous reflux, an indication of varicose veins.