Understanding Vein Disease

Arteries and veins are responsible for circulating blood through the body. Where arteries move oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body, veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Some of these veins have valves that help blood to keep moving against gravity and toward the heart. Over time, vein walls and valves can weaken or become damaged, resulting in varicose veins.

Veins become dilated, twisting, and bulging, making it difficult to stand, walk, work, or enjoy your favorite activities. Varicose veins can become a serious medical condition; left untreated, they may cause skin discoloration, bleeding, skin ulcerations/sores, and blood clots. They are a symptom of the disease entity called “chronic venous insufficiency” (CVI).

Vein Treatment Options

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  • Visible varicose veins
  • Leg aches or cramping
  • Heavy or tired legs
  • Itchy legs
  • Leg swelling
  • Poorly healing wounds
Risk Factors

There are many factors that place a person at risk for developing CVI. Female gender and advanced age may increase your risk. Other factors that may increase your risk of CVI include:

  • Family history
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Trauma
  • Prolonged standing
  • Excess weight
  • Current or previous pregnancies
  • Smoking

Many individuals can manage vein disease by taking conservative measures such as:

  • Manage body weight
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (like running or walking)
  • Elevate your legs when possible
  • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting
  • Avoid shoes that limit use of the calf muscles (i.e. high heels)
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