What Is Vein Disease? Symptoms, Types & Risk Factors
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What is vein disease and do I have the symptoms?

Generally speaking, venous disease symptoms and signs result from problems affecting the veins of the legs. These veins carry blood from the legs back to the heart so it can be oxygenated and recirculated. In patients suffering from venous disease, these leg veins do not work well. As a result, blood stays and collects in the lower legs and feet, which is the cause of spider veins and can eventually develop into a serious medical problem.

Specifically, the term venous disease includes a variety of related problems across a range of clinical signs related to morphologic and/or functional abnormalities in leg veins. It is the underlying cause of spider veins, varicose veins, and other conditions:


Spider and Reticular Veins

Spider veins (telangiectasias) and reticular veins are dilated, or expanded, veins that are often considered to be cosmetic problems


Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are much larger dilated veins that bulge like twisted ropes on the surface of the skin and frequently require medically necessary treatment


Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Advanced chronic venous insufficiency refers to swelling legs, skin discoloration, and venous ulcers, which are indicative of severe venous disease and require immediate treatment


What Is the Cause of Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, and Other Conditions?

Venous disease symptoms are caused by venous reflux, a condition in which blood is allowed to flow backwards in veins and pool. This builds pressure inside veins, causing them to dilate, or expand. In the case of varicose veins, venous reflux is most likely caused by abnormalities in vein walls. However venous reflux is also commonly associated with valvular incompetence, a condition in which the tiny one-way valves that control blood flow inside veins become damaged. It is likely that varicose veins are caused by vein wall abnormalities in conjunction with valvular incompetence.



Venous Disease Symptoms and Signs

There are a variety of symptoms, or signs, associated with venous disease, including:

  • Heavy or tired legs
  • Achy legs
  • Skin irritation
  • Itching or burning
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and/or feet
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Leg cramps/restless legs

These venous disease symptoms and signs usually indicate an underlying disorder in the larger veins of the legs.

Risk Factors That Contribute to Venous Disease Symptoms and Signs

There are several risk factors that contribute to venous disease:

Genetics — The greatest determining factor for vein disease

Gender — Women suffer from vein disease more frequently than men

Obesity or weight gain — Excessive weight can accelerate the progression of vein disease

Pregnancy —  Elevated blood volume, hormone levels and pressure on the leg veins due to an enlarging uterus

Injury or surgery (especially near the pelvis) — Blood flow through a vein becomes restricted

Blood clot — Blood flow through a vein becomes blocked

Prolonged standing or sitting — Certain occupations and sedentary lifestyles due to inactivity of the muscles that help pump blood back to the heart


The CEAP Scale: Classification of Venous Disease

The Clinical-Etiology-Anatomy-Pathophysiology (CEAP) classification is used to categorize the different stages, or severities, of venous disease symptoms, also called signs. Typically, venous disease categorized as C2–C6 should be evaluated. Treatment for these categories is considered medically necessary. Signs categorized as C1 may need medically necessary treatment or might only be cosmetic issues. To make a determination on the severity of venous disease, we will perform an initial diagnostic ultrasound. Afterwards, the doctor will discuss appropriate treatment options.



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Have Questions?

For more information, you can also read about conditions, treatments, and our FAQ. To learn about VasCare and how we can help you, contact us or call our offices at: Beaumont Clinic409.924.8600 Corpus Christi Clinic361.882.4000