Vein disease refers to any problem or condition that affects the part of your circulatory system that returns deoxygenated blood from your tissues back to your heart. The symptoms depend on the specific vein condition, but it’s important to learn to recognize the most common symptoms.
At Dallas Vein Institute, located in Dallas, Texas, interventional radiologist Dr. Dev Batra and our team are well versed in the different types of vein disease and their symptoms. So you can get medical treatment before any vein condition becomes a major health problem, we’ve put together this guide to help you recognize the warning signs.
Age increases the chances of developing vein problems. In fact, one-third of Americans over 45 have some kind of vein disease. Two of the most common issues are valve problems and blood clots.
Since veins return blood to the heart against the pull of gravity, they need mechanisms to keep blood flowing in the right direction: upward. That is achieved through the use of unidirectional valves — once the blood flows past them, they snap shut, keeping the blood from flowing backward.
If the valve becomes damaged, though, blood flow can move backward. When this happens, it stagnates, pooling around the valve and raising the pressure in the vein. If you don’t exercise or sit or stand for long periods, the pressure on the valves can damage them. So can smoking, which makes the vein walls stiffer, increasing pressure.
Improper blood flow can result in blood clotting, either in a superficial vein or in a vein deep within the tissue, usually in the legs. Clots can cause valve damage and increase the risks of other health problems if they break free.
Let’s look at some of the most common types of vein disease and their symptoms.
When blood pools or stagnates, the pressure can push the vein up to the skin’s surface, where it bulges in blue or red ropy strands. These are known as varicose veins. They’re quite common and occur about twice as much in women as in men. Varicose veins can appear anywhere, but they’re most common in the legs.
While varicose veins are not generally a medical hazard, they can come with uncomfortable symptoms, which include:
Symptoms may not be severe in the morning since you’ve elevated your legs all night, but they can worsen once you’re standing. Though most varicose veins are removed for cosmetic reasons, they can lead to skin ulcers, infections, clots, and bleeding when left untreated.
CVI occurs when valves fail and blood pools in the legs. Varicose veins are the most common symptom of this condition. Other signs include:
If CVI isn’t treated, the legs can swell, and the tiny blood vessels can burst, turning your skin reddish-brown, especially near the ankles.
Researchers estimate that more than 900,000 have DVT and as many as 30% of those will die within one month of diagnosis of this potentially life-threatening condition. If you have varicose veins, you have up to a 430% greater risk of developing DVT.
DVT occurs when blood clots develop in one of your deep veins. These types of clots are a major health threat, as they can detach from the veins and move through the bloodstream to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism characterized by shortness of breath, difficulties with physical exertion, and even death. About one in four DVT clots left untreated will detach.
Symptoms only present in about 50% of patients who have DVT. For those who get them, they include:
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see our team as soon as possible to prevent life-threatening complications.
Are you experiencing symptoms of vein disease? It’s time to make an appointment with Dallas Vein Institute in Dallas, Texas. Give our office a call at 972-646-8346, or book online. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay.