Venous disease is one of the most common conditions affecting our health. It is estimated that about 20% of adults may be suffering from venous disease. Although many people may have visible varicose veins, there are many others who have no visible signs of the disease. Individuals with venous disease range from those with small vein disease (spider and reticular veins) to patients with large bulging varicose veins. When varicose veins are present, patients may experience swelling in the legs as well as skin changes such as discoloration, thickening of the skin, and in advanced cases, skin ulcers. Occasionally, large varicose veins may develop blood clots, a condition called superficial phlebitis. Patients without visible signs of venous disease may have symptoms such as leg pain (aching or cramping), leg heaviness or fatigue, swelling, throbbing, burning, itching or tenderness. Some people also experience restless legs.
Men and women of all ages can be affected by venous disease although women are affected more than men due to hormones. Venous disease has a very strong genetic component but there are certain risk factors that can also contribute to its development. These include obesity, pregnancy, prior trauma, surgery, lifestyle and occupations that require prolonged standing.
The treatment of venous disease has come very far in the past 10 years. Today we know much more about this medical problem and the diagnosis and treatment is far superior to that of times past. Venous disease can be easily diagnosed with the use of painless, noninvasive ultrasound performed in the office to determine if you have venous reflux. Venous reflux is the back flow of blood in the legs caused by weakened valves in the veins of the legs.
If you experience any symptoms of the disease, you need to make sure that your physician is aware. Venous disease can be a serious medical condition which left untreated, can lead to long standing complications.
Treatment for venous disease may involve a procedure called EVLA which is a laser procedure done in the office to close down some of the larger superficial veins. Most patients also require sclerotherapy injections to shut down some of the smaller, more superficial veins of the legs. Treatment can help manage the disease and improve the overall health and appearance of your legs as well as greatly improve your quality of life. Most procedures are also covered by insurance.
Dr. Lisa Perez
Be proactive about your circulation and prevent further damage to your legs by having them evaluated for venous disease.