Risk Factors for Vein Disease

The veins in your circulatory system play an important role. They deliver deoxygenated blood from the tissues and organs back to the heart, having to fight the force of gravity moving from the lower extremities to the chest. With all that work, is it any wonder that vein diseases are so common?

Vein conditions like varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, and deep vein thrombosis affect nearly 30% of the population, and they’re responsible for up to 80% of cases of leg ulcers.

At Dallas Vein Institute in Dallas, Texas, interventional radiologist Dr. Dev Batra specializes in screening for, diagnosing, and treating vein problems. He’s passionate about the work he does, and he wants you to be informed about the risks of developing vein disease. He’s put together this guide to help you navigate through the considerable amount of information. While some of the risks are the same or similar across diseases, some are different, so we’ll look at the conditions separately.

What are varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency?

Varicose veins are one of the most common vein diseases, affecting up to 3 in 10 adults, most of them women. They’re also one of the leading causes of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

Causes

To be able to pump blood continuously against the pull of gravity, your veins, especially your leg veins, contain one-way valves. They open, allowing the blood to flow past them, then close, preventing backflow. If, however, the valve becomes weakened or damaged, it may not close properly, and blood can then flow backward along its path, often pooling around the damaged valve. This leads to engorged veins that, when close to the surface, appear as ropy lengths of red, blue, or purple protrusions on the skin — varicose veins.

Varicose veins, by themselves, are not dangerous, but they can lead to chronic venous insufficiency. Any time your veins have difficulty returning blood from your limbs back to the heart, it’s referred to as venous insufficiency. Not treated, this can lead to a chronic condition with symptoms including:

The disease is most common in women in their 40s and men in their 70s.

Risks

Risks for varicose veins include:

Risk factors for CVI include all of the above, plus:

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Researchers estimate that over 900,000 people have DVT, and as many as 30% of them will die of the condition in the first month after diagnosis.

Causes

DVT develops when a blood clot develops in one of your deep veins — it’s usually in the leg, but it can occur in the arms or pelvis as well. DVT is a dangerous health condition, since if the blood clot in your leg breaks free, it can travel quickly through your veins into your lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. If a clot breaks off in your arm or elsewhere in your body, it may lead to a stroke.

Warning signs of DVT include:

Dallas Vein Institute uses vascular ultrasounds to identify and precisely locate any blood clots in your veins. We might prescribe blood thinners or suggest compression stockings to support healthy circulation and alleviate some of your symptoms. In severe cases, we might recommend a minimally invasive procedure to destroy or remove the clot.

DVT can also lead to Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS), a chronic condition that occurs in up to 50% of patients with a history of DVT and can lead to permanent disability. It happens when the clot organizes around the fragile deep-vein valves, damaging them permanently. Symptoms include aching or heaviness in the legs, swelling, cramps, and skin changes.

Risks

Risk factors for DVT include:

Are you concerned about your vein health, whether you’re showing symptoms yet or not? Give Dallas Vein Institute a call at 972-646-8346 to schedule an appointment, or book one online.

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