Venous insufficiency is the underlying condition which causes the formation of varicose and spider veins.
What is Venous Insufficiency?
The veins job is to bring blood back to the heart. The problem is that veins are fighting against gravity, which is trying to pull the blood to your feet. The way the veins counteract this is that they have one-way valves in them. The valves close as the blood passes toward the heart and they do not allow blood to back up toward the feet. In some people, the valves wear out over time and this allows for blood to stay in your legs longer than normal. Over time, this leads to a buildup of pressure in the veins. This increased venous pressure causes a feeling of heaviness and tiredness in the legs. As the pressure increases, abnormal superficial veins arise and can be seen on the skin. These can be large bulging veins or smaller veins looking like spiderwebs, called telangiectasias. These veins are called varicose veins and they can be painful or cause itching. Eventually, the increased venous pressure can lead to swelling and discoloration of the legs and if left untreated, can predispose you to developing venous ulceration and venous inflammation, called phlebitis.
Do you have venous insufficiency?
Who is at greatest risk for developing venous insufficiency?
There are some common risk factors that lead to a higher chance of developing venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Patients with these risk factors that begin to develop any symptoms, such as achy, restless, swollen legs or varicose veins, should call to schedule a consultation immediately.
People that spend most of their time in the seated or standing position.
Excess weight will also put stress on the veins and increases risk for venous insufficiency.
Females have a greater risk than males due to the female hormones that circulate through the bloodstream.
Prior history of blood clots can damage the valves and lead to venous insufficiency.
Pregnancy and childbirth put excess stress on the veins.
If your relatives have venous insufficiency, you are at a higher risk for developing the disease.
If left untreated, venous insufficiency can have severe side effects. New patient appointments to diagnose venous insufficiency are quick and easy. If you or someone you love are experiencing any of the risk factors listed above, call the Milford Vascular Institute today to schedule your new patient consultation.