To understand vein disease, which is the primary cause of varicose veins, it’s first important to understand the venous system of the human body. The venous system is the part of the circulatory system that returns deoxygenated blood through veins back to the heart to be recirculated. By contrast, the arterial system carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to be distributed throughout the body. The smallest parts of the venous system are the capillaries, which feed into larger superficial veins.
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.
Venous disease, or disorders caused by diseased or abnormal veins, is fairly common, affecting 15% of U.S. adults.
The following are venous are some venous disease symptoms: swelling or heaviness in legs, calf pain or cramping, visible varicose or spider veins, skin problems or discoloration, dry or weeping eczema, leg ulcer.
The following are risk factors, which can increase the likelihood of developing venous insufficiency:
- Standing occupations
Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency/varicose veins of the lower extremities include:
- 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
Complications may include:
- Clotting in vessels
- Bleeding and skin changes with eventual ulceration