Below are some of the questions The Vein Center of Arizona are frequently asked regarding medical and cosmetic vein care conditions and treatments. If you have furhter questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.
A: Varicose veins are dilated or large, ropy, blue, enlarged veins most often found in the legs. They occur when the valves in the veins become weak or diseased and no longer provide adequate support. The loss of structural integrity causes blood to pool in the legs, ankles and feet. Visually varicose veins are the most obvious sign of vein disease, but you do not have to have visible veins to have vein disease.
A: Spider veins are veins that are close to the skins surface and may look thin and wispy like spider webs or thick and squiggly like branches. Similar to varicose veins but smaller and thinner. We tend to think of spider veins as a cosmetic problem, even medical professionals and even vascular surgeons do. Many times there is increased pressure in the venous system and thus underlying medical cause that has created the spider veins. If you have spider veins along with any other symptom of vein disease (heaviness, stinging, burning, throbbing, swollen ankles, itchy burning legs, aching, numbness, etc.) then you may have an underlying condition. An evaluation by The Vein Center of Arizona and a high quality venous ultrasound test can establish if spider veins are cosmetic in nature or a result of venous insufficiency. This test also can assist in getting your insurance to pay for treatment.
Q: What is vein disease (venous insufficiency or reflux disease)?
A: Arteries carry oxygen rich blood to the cells. Veins carry de-oxygenated blood from the outer parts of the body back to the heart and lungs. The venous blood in the legs has to fight against gravity to travel up the leg. The heart of the venous system is the muscular system. When moving the symptoms of venous disease can be limited. When the body is at rest the effects of venous valve dysfunction become more apparent. The vein valves play an important role in the process of moving the blood up to the heart. They are one way valves and if working correctly prevent flow from traveling toward the feet. Vein disease, also called venous reflux disease, is the weakening of these vein walls and valves, which allows a backflow of blood down the veins. Think of a salmon that can’t make it up stream. The blood that travels down the leg increases the venous pressure and causes other valves to fail. The increased pressure causes the vein walls to expand. The un-oxygenated blood pools in the legs, which results in the symptoms of vein disease. The symptoms include varicose veins, spider veins, leg pain, swelling, edema, aching, throbbing, burning, itchy, numbness, cramping at night and heavy feeling in the legs or ankles.
Vein disease is hereditary in nature. Look no further than your family tree to see the effects of untreated venous disease. Environmental factors play a role and occupations that require long standing periods increase your risk. This includes: Teachers, hair stylists, factory workers, flight attendants, barbers, construction workers, etc. Occupations that require a lot of sitting cause equally amount of problems and this kind of environmental risk has increased with advent of computerization. Pregnancy and weight gain especially in the abdomen increases the likelihood of developing vein disease. If you have had more two pregnancies it is very likely that you have some form of venous insufficiency. The good thing is that vein disease can be treated and is covered by most medical insurance plans.
Q: What are the symptoms of vein disease?
A: Symptoms of vein disease are often very easy to identify and include any bulging, ropey or rope-like varicose veins and spider veins on the surface of the skin. You do not have to have visible varicose veins or spider veins to have vein disease. In some people the veins are bulging but lye further under the skin. Other less noticeable signs include:
History of vein problems in maternal or paternal parents
Legs that are fatigued, tired or heavy feeling at the end of the day
Prolonged standing or sitting that causes leg pain
Burning, itching, and aching of the legs or feet.
Swollen ankles or sock lines at the end of the day
Skin discoloration on the medial or inside of the lower calf
Ulceration or sores on the lower legs and ankles
Diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) or cramping of the legs at night.
Vein disease symptoms can be come on gradually or can come on all at once. In most cases there is a family history of vein problems or chronic leg swelling. If you have even one of the symptoms you may have medically treatable vein disease and need to schedule an appointment at The Vein Center of Arizona. Vein treatments offer information but for an insurance or Medicare covered consultation and evaluation an appointment needs to be made.