NORMAL VEIN VS. VARICOSE VEIN

What Is Vein Disease?

The vascular system is comprised of the heart, arteries, and veins. Veins are blood vessels that return blood from the body to the heart. To overcome the force of gravity, inside the veins are one-way valves, which open to allow blood flow to the heart, and close to prevent reflux of blood back to the body. When the valves fail to function, or if the vein is compromised so the valves do not completely close, blood can begin to pool in the vein causing a host of complications.

The cause of varicose veins or why the valves in your veins weaken is not fully understood as some people develop the condition for no apparent reason.

Symptoms        

Symptoms that have been associated with chronic venous insufficiency / varicose veins of the lower extremities include:

  • Pain
  • Aching and uncomfortable “fatigued” legs
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Throbbing or burning in your legs
  • Itchy, dry and thin skin over the affected vein
  • Brownish skin changes
  • Muscle cramping in your legs (particularly at night)
  • Bleeding and/or ulceration

Typically if you have these symptoms, they are exacerbated by standing up for long periods of time and will be worse in warm weather.

Symptoms        

Symptoms that have been associated with chronic venous insufficiency / varicose veins of the lower extremities include:

  • Pain
  • Aching and uncomfortable “fatigued” legs
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Throbbing or burning in your legs
  • Itchy, dry and thin skin over the affected vein
  • Brownish skin changes
  • Muscle cramping in your legs (particularly at night)
  • Bleeding and/or ulceration

Typically if you have these symptoms, they are exacerbated by standing up for long periods of time and will be worse in warm weather.

Varicose Vein Risk Factors

Pregnancy

The amount of blood in a woman’s body increases when pregnant to help support her growing baby. This puts an extra strain on her circulatory system. Additionally, research has shown that the increased hormone levels reached during pregnancy also cause the blood vessels to relax making the valves prone to reflux. As the uterus (womb) starts to grow, the additional pressure on the vessels in the pelvic region can lead to varicose veins. Although being pregnant may increase your risk of developing varicose veins and arteries, most women will find their condition improves considerably after pregnancy.

Obesity

Being severely overweight increases the pressure on your veins requiring them to work harder in order to send blood back to your heart. This can put increased pressure on the valves making them more prone to reflux.

Gender

Women are more likely to be affected by varicose veins than men. Research suggests that this may be because female hormones promote relaxation of the vein walls, making the valves more prone to insufficiency.

Occupation

Research suggests that jobs, which require long periods of standing, may increase your risk for varicose veins. When you are standing for long periods of time, blood does not flow as easily from the extremities to the heart.

Heredity

If one parent had venous disease then you are at a 60% risk while if both parents had venous disease then you are at an 89% risk to develop varicose veins.

Consequences      

Varicose veins afflict between 25 and 40 million Americans – two-thirds of them women – with uncomfortable and unsightly veins and arteries. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through causing a backwards flow in your legs. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in symptomatic varicose veins – a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. Left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can cause more advanced disease including leg ulcers, which can be very difficult to treat.

Consequences      

Varicose veins afflict between 25 and 40 million Americans – two-thirds of them women – with uncomfortable and unsightly veins and arteries. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through causing a backwards flow in your legs. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in symptomatic varicose veins – a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. Left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can cause more advanced disease including leg ulcers, which can be very difficult to treat.

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205-592-1800

HOMEWOOD
2704 20th Street South
Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35209

GIVE US A CALL


334-647-1811

MONTGOMERY
8326 Crossland Loop
Montgomery, AL 36117

AUBURN
1935 E Glenn Avenue
Suite#102
Auburn, AL 36830