The vein disease spectrum can run from cosmetic concerns such as spider and varicose veins to more advanced states that can be physically debilitating with issues such as leg ulcers, immobility, painful swollen veins, bleeding, and blood clots. Because signs and symptoms of vein disease often differ from person to person, many patients fail to seek treatment for their vein disease. They mistakenly think that their symptoms will go away on their own, are no big deal, or are just a result of aging. Left untreated, these symptoms can progressively worsen, leading to more serious conditions.
All venous disease is due to abnormal high pressure in the veins, which can be caused by any of the following:
- Broken valves resulting in chronic venous insufficiency
- Pelvic venous outflow obstruction (also known as iliac vein compression or May Thurner syndrome)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Heart issues, including congestive heart failure
Once one or more of these issues occur, patients will see vein issues that can include spider veins, varicose veins, swelling, skin discoloration, and ulcers. They will experience symptoms that include pain, swelling, itching, numbness, heaviness, cramping, and restless legs. Without treatment, most patients’ symptoms will progress and may ultimately result in skin discoloration, phlebolymphedema, and venous ulcers.
At the Vein Center at Water’s Edge Dermatology, our dedicated medical team of vein specialists provides full diagnostic evaluation for leg pain, swelling, fatigue, heaviness, cramping, numbness, as well as more serious issues. Our vein experts work with you to develop a custom treatment plan driven by your goals to improve your skin’s appearance, function, and treat your overall circulatory health. We utilize state-of-the-art advanced medical interventions and techniques to treat a range of vein issues that include:
- Venus Reflux / Chronic Venous Insufficiency
- Spider Veins
- Varicose Veins
- Leg Swelling
- Brown Leg Discoloration (Lipodermatosclerosis)
- Leg Ulcers
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot)
- May Thurner Syndrome
Contact us today to schedule a complimentary evaluation in our office nearest you.
Venus Reflux / Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
Arteries bring oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins return oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when leg veins cannot pump enough back to the heart. Valves in the veins keep blood flowing in the right direction, and when leg muscles relax, these valves close to prevent blood from flowing in reverse, back down the legs. When sitting or standing for a long time, blood in the leg can pool, increasing venous blood pressure. Vein walls can become stretched and weakened, damaging the vein valves and causing chronic venous insufficiency or CVI.
Spider veins can be cosmetic and due to aging or trauma. Spider veins can also be a sign of something deeper inside which is causing underlying high blood pressure in the leg veins. At times they can cause discomfort. Spider veins are superficial blood vessels that develop under the surface of the skin and may be red, blue or purple. They can be treated effectively with sclerotherapy injections, VeinGogh or laser therapy. It is important to identify their cause and any underlying serious conditions.
Blood in healthy veins travels in one direction toward the heart with the assistance of one-way valves. When vein valves break, blood leaks and falls back in the opposite direction, creating a bulging varicose vein. Heredity, a sedentary lifestyle, jobs that require excessive standing or sitting, deep vein thrombosis, and pregnancy can contribute to the formation of varicose veins.
Swelling or heaviness, especially in the lower leg and ankle, can be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency due to blood pooling or collecting in the veins. Over time, chronic venous insufficiency can cause pain, swelling, and skin changes. It may also lead to open sores, called ulcers, in the legs. It’s important to get treatment as early as possible to reduce the possibility of developing leg ulcers.
Brown Leg Discoloration (Lipodermatosclerosis)
Brown leg discoloration or lipodermatosclerosis is a skin and connective tissue disorder that causes a brownish discoloration of the ankle and/or leg. It is usually a sign of advanced venous disease. As venous disease severity increases, so does the blood pressure in the veins. This high pressure can push molecules that work as the body’s natural defense mechanism out of the blood stream and into tissues in the lower leg and ankle, causing inflammation and tissue damage.
Over 80% of all leg ulcers in the world are due to vein disease. Venous ulcers occur because of the breakdown of normal tissue, due to high blood pressure in the leg veins, caused by venous disease (chronic venous insufficiency). Venous ulcers mainly occur on the lower leg just above the ankle. They can be very painful and need to be taken seriously and treated quickly. Taking care of the wound externally is important from a dermatological perspective, but the ulcer either will not heal or will heal and come back if the underlying high blood pressure in the leg veins is not treated.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs. DVT can cause leg pain or swelling, discoloration, or can have no symptoms. DVT can be caused by certain medical conditions that affect how the blood clots. It can also occur after surgery or an accident when a patient doesn’t move for a long time. DVT can be very serious because blood clots in the veins can break loose, travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, blocking blood flow. Blood clots cause increased pressure in the leg veins which ultimately can cause chronic venous insufficiency, leading to leg symptoms and venous disease. This vein disease is terms, Post Thrombotic Syndrome.
May Thurner Syndrome
May Thurner Syndrome affects the iliac veins, which have several connections in the pelvic and abdominal region. May Thurner is caused when the left iliac vein is compressed under the right iliac artery, increasing risk of deep vein thrombosis and the complete or partial blockage of veins due to a blood clot. Because deep vein thrombosis can be life threatening, it is critical to get checked out if any of the following symptoms occur: swelling, pain, tenderness, sensation of increased warmth, redness, leg or ankle discoloration, enlarged veins, one leg appearing larger than the other, ulcers, or varicose veins appearing in the pelvic region.
Lymphedema occurs when lymph nodes or lymph vessels, which move fluid from the body and act as filters to fight infection and regulate swelling, become damaged and cannot properly drain the lymph fluid. This typically occurs in an arm or leg. Patients with lymphedema experience leg swelling and fluid retention that worsens over the day when standing or sitting. Lymphedema tends to be chronic and persists over the life of the patient. One of the major causes of lymphedema is venous disease.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of vein disease, it’s important to see a vein specialist. Contact The Vein Center at Water’s Edge Dermatology today to schedule your complimentary consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Central and South Florida. Find the location nearest you and call today or request an appointment online.