Venous disease, or venous insufficiency, is a condition caused by improper functioning of the valves in the veins of the legs. In healthy veins, these valves close to keep blood flowing back toward the heart. When they don’t close properly, blood can pool in the legs causing high venous pressure and the many symptoms of venous insufficiency. The most recognized sign of venous disease is varicose veins, but the condition can also cause heavy, achy, tired legs, as well as swelling or leg cramps that can interfere with daily activities or sleep.
While the spider veins and varicose veins that result from venous insufficiency may initially be considered a cosmetic problem, the condition tends to worsen over time. Schedule an appointment for an evaluation to determine the severity of your issue and explore your options for treatment.
Signs & Symptoms of Venous Disease
Signs and symptoms of venous disease can include:
- Spider veins
- Varicose veins
- Leg swelling, fatigue, and achiness
- Skin changes around the ankles
- Leg ulcers
- Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Treating Venous Insufficiency
Treatment for venous insufficiency includes a variety of strategies ranging from self-care techniques to minimally invasive surgery.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of venous insufficiency, schedule an appointment with an SSM Health vein specialist today. Our team will perform a complete evaluation, including a detailed history and physical exam and assess your risk factors for venous disease. Most patients will receive a detailed ultrasound examination to identify which veins are not functioning properly and allow us to formulate the best treatment plan.
In its early stages, self-care techniques focused on improving blood flow can help relieve symptoms. These techniques include:
- Wearing compression stockings
- Keeping your legs elevated when possible
- Exercising regularly and being active
If your symptoms get worse or these techniques fail to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend specialized medical procedures to manage your symptoms of venous insufficiency.
Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for spider veins which is primarily a cosmetic concern. During sclerotherapy, a chemical irritant is injected into the veins with a small needle. This causes inflammation which closes the spider vein. The veins will slowly disappear over the following weeks. Several treatments may be necessary for best results.
Endovenous ablation, or endovenous closure, is a minimally invasive procedure to permanently close poorly functioning veins. During this procedure, a radiofrequency (or laser) catheter is inserted to heat and seal the problem vein. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia with minimal sedation and can significantly improve or even resolve symptoms.