Peripheral vascular disease is common, especially among the aging population. The benefit is that YES, there is treatment for peripheral vascular disease, which can be achieved by visiting a board certified vascular surgeon such as Dr. Mackay Mackay Vein Clinic in Tampa, FL.
"What do spider veins, varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and blood clots all have in common? They are all types of peripheral vascular disease and are diseases that affect the veins in the legs." - Dr. Edward Mackay
Spider veins are the least worrisome and only cause concern for their cosmetic appearance. Spider veins do not lead to varicose veins, venous insufficiency, or blood clots, however those with spider veins may have a genetic predisposition to develop other venous disease.
Varicose Veins, Venous Insufficiency & DVT
Varicose veins are bulging, gnarled veins that are usually seen on the skin surface with symptoms of swelling, cramping, and heaviness that worsen with standing. Varicose veins can lead to venous insufficiency and blood clots especially if not treated. Many people who have varicose veins, also have spider veins.
Venous insufficiency occurs after a long duration of vein disease without any treatment. Symptoms are swelling, pain, difficulty with healing wounds, and discoloration of the skin on the legs. The discoloration occurs from iron leaching out of the blood that is pooled in the veins and infiltrating into the skin, causing a brown color.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis and are a severe complication of venous disease. As blood accumulates and is not being pushed through the veins appropriately, this allows the blood to clot. Blood clots in the legs cause local swelling and intense pain that usually occurs suddenly, versus gradually over time with the other types of vein disease. If all or a part of the clot breaks away, this can go directly to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, or to the brain, causing a stroke. Stroke and pulmonary embolisms may cause permanent damage or be deadly.
Video: Understanding Venous Disease
Dr. Edward Mackay gives you a basic understand about Venous Disease.
Venous Disease - Causes and Treatment Options
Causes of Vein Disease
There are several different causes that can lead to the development of venous disease:
Standing or sitting for long periods of time
Being overweight or obese
There are treatments for venous disease:
Treating risks is the most important. Of course, not all the risks can be treated, as some are out of our control.
Weight loss or maintaining an appropriate weight
Exercise program with 3-5 days of at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity, such as walking or biking.
Taking breaks while at work or home to stand, stretch, or walk.
Compression garments apply pressure to the legs to help squeeze the blood out of the veins and prevent pooling.
Elevating legs at night allows for gravity to help move blood out of the veins.
Avoidance of hot showers or baths as heat dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and more blood is then located in the legs.
Vein stripping is used for varicose veins, but has fallen out of favor due to other less invasive treatments.
Sclerotherapy is used to treat both spider veins and varicose veins.
Endovascular laser therapy is used to treat both spider veins and varicose veins.
If left untreated, venous disease can lead to disastrous consequences.
Consult With a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon
If left untreated, venous disease can lead to disastrous consequences, even though this is a rare occurrence. If you are concerned about varicose veins, swelling in your legs, or you have risks that may lead to developing venous disease, please visit with a board certified vascular surgeon to discuss your treatment options and prevent any worsening of your vein disease.