182015May

Vascular Surgeons Discuss Several Types of Vein Disease

If you suffer vein disease, you are not alone.  Vein disease, which affects about one out of every three people in the United States over the age of 45, interferes with the way blood circulates in your body,


Every beat of your heart pumps blood through the arteries, veins and capillaries that make up your circulatory system. Your arteries work with gravity to carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins work against gravity to carry blood from the far reaches of your body, including your feet, back to your heart.

Gig Harbor Vein Doctors Describe Vein Disease and Vein Treatments

Vein diseases are a group of conditions that affect the blood vessels carrying blood back up to your heart. The most commonly known vein diseases are varicose veins and spider veins. These conditions occur when blood accumulates to cause veins to enlarge and bloat enough to be visible on the surface of your skin. Vascular surgeons treat varicose veins and spider veins with a variety of vein treatment procedures, including sclerotherapy, Venefit, Venefit Procedure and VNUS Closure.


Vein disease often involves deterioration of the internal walls of the veins or defective valves. Sometimes the valves are incompetent, meaning they used to work but now function poorly. Incompetent and defective valves allow blood to flow backwards towards your feet. Doctors refer to this as “reflux.”


When reflex occurs in incompetent valves in superficial veins, deeper veins must pick up the slack and work harder to carry more blood towards your heart. Sometimes these deeper veins will compensate by expanding or leaving valves open, thereby creating incompetent veins deeper in your leg. When your circulatory system can no longer pump the blood effectively from your lower leg to your heart, the veins stay full of old blood, even when you walk around.


Types of Vein Disease

Without relief, pressure builds inside these veins to create a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This vein disease can cause swelling, skin changes and even skin sores that doctors refer to as “venous stasis ulcers.”


Pooled blood stagnates inside veins. Blood tends to clot when it sits still, so pooled blood associated with CVI increases your risk for developing blood clots in your legs. Vein doctors refer to a blood clot in a deep vein as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Symptoms, if they appear, can include pain and swelling. Clots can break apart and pieces can move to your lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism that strains your heart and lungs.


Clots can make veins swell in a condition vascular surgeons refer to as thrombophlebitis. This condition can cause serious medical complications, including DVT and pulmonary embolism. Vein doctors use ultrasound to diagnose thrombophlebitis and CVT.