About Venous Disease and Varicose Veins
Do you live in Annapolis, Easton, Chester or surrounding areas and think you may be suffering from varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, protuberant twisted veins that appear under the skin in the lower extremities. They form as a result of increased pressure in the legs. Normal veins have valves that open and close, propelling blood out of the legs and back to the heart in a unidirectional fashion. When the veins become dilated the valves don’t close properly and the result is venous blood flow back into the legs. This condition is called VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY or VENOUS REFLUX DISEASE.
Treating vein disorders is easy, convenient and virtually pain free. Many people remember the painful and complex vein stripping procedures to remove varicose veins. Today, treatment options are minimally invasive and allow patients to return to their normal activities the same day as their procedure.
Normal Anatomy & Vein Physiology
The lower extremities have parallel systems of veins–the deep veins are close to the bones and the superficial veins are near the skin. They are connected by small perforating veins. Both the deep and the superficial veins have many valves to promote blood flow out of the legs.
Lower extremity venous blood flow is controlled by the calf muscle and respiration. When the calf muscle contracts, venous valves open and the blood moves toward the heart. When the lungs fill with air, the increased pressure in the chest causes the valves to close.Valve closure prevents the backflow of blood back into the legs.
Venous Insufficiency or Venous Reflux Disease in Annapolis
In most patients, the deep veins in the legs are competent, or the valves open and close normally and venous blood flow is unidirectional. The superficial veins, primarily the great saphenous and small saphenous are most commonly affected by venous reflux. The increased pressure in the legs from standing or sitting all day causes the superficial veins to enlarge and results in partial closure of the valves.
Chronic elevated venous pressure on the superficial veins sometimes results in the formation of varicose veins and spider veins. The condition of venous insufficiency produces painful symptoms with or without varicose veins. Left untreated, the condition will worsen over time.
Symptoms of Venous Reflux Disease
Dilated veins with malfunctioning valves can produce one or more of the following symptoms:
- Heavy, aching legs
- Swelling around the ankles
- Leg cramping
- Itching or burning around the veins
- Skin discoloration or open sores around the ankles
- Restless leg syndrome
Incidence & Contributing Factors
More than 50% of the population will be affected by venous disease in their lifetime. By the age of 60, 70% of women and 40% of men have some type of venous disorder.
There are many contributing factors and the most important is heredity. Patients are very likely to inherit their parents’ venous condition. Other factors include:
- Occupations that require prolonged standing such as teachers, nurses, pharmacists, landscapers
- Lifestyle choices that increase venous pressure like bodybuilding and jogging
- Excessive weight
- Pregnancy is associated with venous disease due to increased progesterone levels and increased venous pressure from the enlarged uterus
Treating Varicose Veins at O’Donnell Vein and Medical Spa in
If you live in Annapolis, or surrounding communities like Chestertown, Chester, Easton, or anywhere on the Eastern shore, visit O’Donnell Vein and Medical Spa at one of our practices in Chester or Easton. But first, call 410-643-1999 to set up a free consultation and evaluation of your venous insufficiency so that we can customize an approach that is best for you,