When veins do not work properly, it is called venous insufficiency. This means that the veins are not effectively sending the blood back to the heart. The severity of venous insufficiency differs with each person. If the problem goes untreated, the person may feel continuous symptoms of pain, swelling and fatigue in the legs and ankles.
If the problem is advanced, there are other symptoms, such as leg ulcers, superficial thrombophlebitis, spontaneous bleeding and, possibly, deep vein thrombosis. Our specialist may be able to determine the severity of your venous issues and tell you what treatment is your best option.
When the tiny valves in the veins that help push the blood back to the heart become weak, the blood starts to pool in the vein. This may cause the vein to become enlarged, start to bulge and look twisted. The veins may not be able to withstand the pressure of pooled blood, so it starts to leak into the tissue. This may appear as spider or thread veins and can cause swelling. The skin may become dark and discolored because the red blood cells in the stagnant blood cause chronic inflammation. If not treated, leg ulcers may form. These can be painful and do not heal easily. In some cases, the ulcer cannot be healed until the varicose vein is treated.
Another result of untreated venous issues is surface bleeding. This happens when the skin that covers the vein becomes thin and the vein becomes exposed. Simple things, like bedding or clothing brushing against the exposed vein, can make it bleed. This may result in a significant amount of blood being lost, and the person may not notice it immediately because there is not much pain.
Superficial thrombophlebitis (ST) is the name for an inflammation of the vein that is just below the surface of the skin. The inflammation is caused by decreased blood flow and not by infection. The symptoms are veins that are warm and tender to the touch and red skin. There may also be pain and swelling.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is serious and can cause severe medical problems. You may have a pulling sensation in the calf and it can be very painful. There is also redness, swelling and warmth that may extend to above the knee. Not everyone with venous issues is at risk of DVT. People who are obese, have blood clotting disorders, are over 60 years of age, have had recent surgery and have had a period of prolonged immobility are the most at risk.
Some things you can do if you think you are developing varicose veins and venous issues are to elevate your legs and feet to help the blood flow back to the heart, get exercise every day and lose weight if you are overweight.
At the Advanced Vein and Laser Centre in Libertyville, we have simple and non-invasive treatments for venous issues that may solve your problem and help you to have smooth legs again. We proudly serve the Chicago and surrounding areas. If you have been diagnosed with DVT, our specialist can prescribe medication and treatments that may prevent serious complications. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment to learn more.