Types of Vein Disorders
It is estimated that 30 to 60 percent of adults in America suffer from leg swelling and discomfort due to various vein disorders including varicose veins and spider veins.
Venous disease can damage the valves inside your veins, preventing them from closing completely. This in turn allows blood to flow in both directions - forward and backward - resulting in various vein conditions including:
1. Varicose Veins
Varicose and spider veins can appear anywhere there’s a weakening in the vessel wall, but are mostly found near the surface of the skin on the legs and in the pelvic region. Varicose veins are characterized by abnormally dilated blood vessels that appear as swollen, twisted clusters or purple or blue veins.
The typical symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Muscle cramps
- Swollen legs
- Aching or soreness in the legs or behind the knee
- Itching around the vein
- Restlessness, throbbing, burning, or heaviness in the legs
- Brown skin discoloration - more pronounced around the ankles
The symptoms often get worse after prolonged sitting or standing, or during menstruation or pregnancy in women. That said, some patients don’t experience any symptoms at all. If not treated, varicose veins can lead to venous eczema, leg swelling, ulceration, and skin thickening.
2. Spider Veins
Spider veins look like blue or red spider webs or tree branches with their short, jagged lines. They are actually dilated thin red capillaries, so they appear closer to the skin surface than varicose veins, though they’re much smaller.
Spider veins appear mostly on the legs and face, and can cover a small or large portion of the skin. They are usually caused by the backup of blood, though it is not unusual for spider veins to surface due to injury, exposure to the sun, or even hormone changes.
Other vein disorders that may result include:
- Blood clots in the arms, legs, brain (cerebral vein thrombosis), kidneys (renal vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism) or other internal organs (intestines, spleen, liver, pelvic organs)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - a blood clot that forms in a deep vein in the arms or legs. Though not life-threatening, the clot can travel in the bloodstream to the veins in the lungs resulting in a pulmonary embolism that can be life-threatening
- Superficial venous thrombosis, also known as phlebitis, refer to blood clots that form on veins near the surface of the skin. They can be painful but not fatal.
- Chronic venous insufficiency, which can appear in the form of pooling of blood, increased pressure, increased pigmentation or skin discoloration, chronic leg swelling, or leg ulcers (venous stasis ulcer)
- Bacterial and fungal infections may result due to skin problems arising from fluid buildup in the leg. They increase the risk of cellulitis or tissue infection
- Ulcers caused by stalled blood flow or venous stasis ulcers. These are open sores or wounds that don’t heal completely, and, therefore, keep returning.
- Venous hemorrhage that results in bleeding from the vein
When you visit the Center for Vein Wellness, Dr. Shah, a board-certified vein specialist will examine your problem areas, discuss your symptoms, and recommend an individualized treatment plan that address your specific needs.