Varicose Veins

Nearly 25 million Americans have varicose veins. Caused by venus reflux disease, varicose veins can become so painful that those who have standing professions can no longer tolerate being on their feet all day.

Healthy veins return blood to the heart and lungs so it can be re-oxygenated. A system of valves makes this happen by allowing the blood to flow in only one direction – up. When valves fail or leak, gravity causes blood to flow backwards and pool inside the vein. This can cause varicose veins to develop.

Some risk factors for the development of varicose veins

  • Family History
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Prolonged standing
  • Excess weight
  • Age
  • Female gender

Common symptoms of varicose veins include pain, fatigue, itching, burning, swelling, cramping, restlessness and throbbing.

Varicose veins often become large and ropelike. Overly distended varicose veins, especially near the ankle, can rupture and cause bleeding. In some cases, varicose veins can cause serious health issues such as venous leg ulcers.

Varicose veins can be a serious disorder that restricts work and leisure activities for both men and women.

Venous Reflux Disease

Venous reflux is often the cause of varicose veins. Venus reflux develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. The valves in the veins are damaged and the veins near the skin surface are stretched and distorted from the increased pressure caused by blood flowing in the wrong direction. Although the condition is rarely life-threatening, it is often painful and unattractive. Symptoms will worsen over time if left untreated.

The main treatment alternative is to re-route the blood flow through healthy veins.

Symptoms of venus reflux disease may include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Pain
  • Swollen limbs
  • Leg heaviness and fatigue
  • Skin changes and skin ulcers

For more information about the treatment of varicose veins, call LifeBridge Health at 410-601-WELL (9355).