VENOUS DISORDERS & VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY
Did you know that venous disorders affect more than 25 million Americans? That’s more than the number of people who suffer from heart disease! The primary cause of venous disorders like varicose veins and spider veins is venous insufficiency. There is a misconception that these varicose veins and spider veins are a cosmetic problem. In fact, they are often symptoms of venous insufficiency. If left untreated, this disease often progresses and brings with it a series of worsening health problems.
What is venous insufficiency?
Healthy veins have one-way valves that help pump blood efficiently back up to the heart. Damaged or weakened valves become insufficient and can no longer prevent blood from flowing backward and pooling in the veins. This increases the pressure in the affected veins and over time additional damage occurs from this pressure. In many people, however, the veins’ valves stop working. We are not sure exactly why this happens. But many risk factors for developing venous insufficiency work together to contribute to the appearance of varicose veins, spider veins, and other symptoms of vein disorders.
Venous insufficiency symptoms
When vein valves stop working correctly, they leak blood back towards the feet, resulting in increased pressure. This often causes symptoms like swelling and aching initially. If it persists, the branches of the damaged veins start enlarging and becoming more visible in the leg. This can result in one or more of these visible symptoms:
- Small spider-like veins called “spider veins” or “telangectasias”
- Medium sized veins (2-3 mm) called “reticular veins“
- Larger ropy veins called “varicose veins“
- Serious venous disease that results in sores on the legs called leg ulcers.
Treating venous disorders
It is important to realize that varicose veins, spider veins, and reticular veins typically happen for a reason reason. They happen because veins in the lower leg are functioning poorly and may need to be treated. Varicose veins, spider veins, and venous ulcers are all evidence of venous insufficiency in the legs or other areas of the body. Treating venous insufficiency is the only way to mitigate future damage as well as to lessen uncomfortable symptoms and the unsightly appearance. To treat venous disorder in legs, vascular surgeons may use a variety of solutions depending on the patient’s particular needs:
- compression stockings
- radiofrequency ablation
- stab phlebectomy
- traditional endovascular surgery
Only a board certified vascular surgeon like Dr. Aquino has all these options available.