Disorders & Diseases - Overview
What Is Venous Insufficiency, or Vein Disease?
Veins normally carry blood from the legs to the heart thanks to one-way valves inside the veins that push the blood against gravity towards the heart. When these valves weaken they allowing the blood above the valves to reflux, or fall back down into the veins below. As the extra blood pools in the vein, it causes the vein to swell.
High pressure the backward flow down the vein initiates an inflammatory response with the vein causing symptoms of leg fatigue, restlessness and swelling. In some patients inflammation will cause the leg to become discolored or develop rashes. In a minority of patients skin ulcers may develop or other complications such as bleeding or clotting.
How Do I Know If I Have It?
Tens of millions of people—up to 40% of women and 25% of men—suffer from varicose veins. Sometimes patients will have purplish, raised veins on their legs that twist like a rope. Other times, they may not have the outward physical signs of swollen veins, but will be experiencing leg pain, swelling, restlessness, or heaviness. Sometimes these symptoms become problematic for carrying on with daily activities, particularly if one’s profession requires a great deal of standing or sitting.
Much of vein disease is hidden. Varicose Veins that are visible on the surface of the skin are usually the tip of the iceberg. Other diseased veins that feed into the visible varicose veins lie hidden deeper in the skin. Ultrasound imaging allows us to see beneath the skin to the entire network of vein disease. Finding the root source of vein disease allows us to make an accurate diagnosis in order to treat the veins effectively.
All screenings and treatments are performed by Dr. Andrew Douglass and his staff during a 30-45 minute consultation with you. An ultrasound screening of your legs will help him assess the extent of your vein disease and allow him to recommend a treatment plan. You will be advised which treatments would best suit your particular case, and will provide a detailed report describing your diagnosis as a courtesy to your primary care physician.