Problematic leg veins are called venous diseases, and the main cause is the deterioration of the vein walls and small valves that help push the blood back to the heart. When this weakness occurs, the blood may flow backwards and build up in the vein, stretching it so it becomes swollen. These bulging veins are called varicose veins and can be seen just beneath the surface of the skin.
When the superficial veins are not working properly, the deep veins may need to carry more blood. When the deep vein compensates for the extra blood, the valves may not close properly, causing the deep veins to become incompetent. This condition is called chronic venous insufficiency and may result in skin discoloration, ulcerations and swelling.
The symptoms of venous insufficiency vary according to the degree of severity. Some of the most common symptoms of problematic leg veins are:
• A heavy sensation in the lower legs and swelling
• Cramps in the calves
• Discolored skin, usually large, brown patches called hyperpigmentation
• The development of eczema
• Open wounds or ulcers near the veins
Superficial and deep-vein thrombosis are more serious conditions that result from venous disease. However, they can suddenly occur without any pre-existing condition.
The causes of venous disease have not yet been identified, but there are risk factors for varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. Risk factors for varicose veins are:
• Heredity – if members of your family have varicose veins
• Gender – more women are affected than men
• Age – people over 50 years are more susceptible
• Hormones – pregnancy, menopause and birth control pills
When you have a consultation with our specialist, your problematic leg veins can be diagnosed. You may learn the type of venous insufficiency you have and your options for treatment. There are many factors to consider before choosing a treatment, including the reason for the condition, your overall health and medical history, your specific symptoms, age and the severity of your condition.
The simplest and most common treatment for problematic leg veins is compression stockings. They are special, elastic stockings that apply pressure from the ankle up the lower leg. There are different strengths of stockings, and our specialist will help you decide the best strength for your treatment. It is recommended to elevate your legs, keep them uncrossed while seated and to exercise regularly while wearing compression stockings.
Other treatments may include medications that draw extra fluid from your body, thin the blood and improve blood flow. Serious cases may require surgery. There are several types of surgery, including minimally-invasive techniques. Laser and radio frequency treatment may be used to heat and damage the vein so it collapses and is absorbed by the surrounding tissue. The blood automatically flows through another vein.
Many venous problems will not cause serious health issues, but it is recommended to have them treated because they could develop into serious problems. Our specialists at Peripheral Vascular Associates will help you find the right treatment for your problematic leg veins. We have offices in San Antonio, Boerne, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Floresville, Hondo, Jourdanton, New Braunfels and Uvalde. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more.