The most common form of venous disease is the condition called varicose veins. Varicose veins are swollen, dilated vessels that rise to the skin’s surface and occur when weak or defective valves allow blood to flow backwards or stagnate in the vein. Sometimes, spider veins or thin, red capillaries surround the surface of the varicose vein.
Women develop varicose veins twice as often than men. Varicose veins are more prevalent with age and a sedentary lifestyle affecting between 30 and 60% of the American population. Varicose and spider veins can appear anywhere on the body, but most often appear on the legs or in the pelvic area.
The risk factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins are:
Physical symptoms other than the appearance of protruding veins through the skin include:
While varicose veins are not life-threatening and may not require treatment, a number of options are available to reduce the symptoms and prevent further complications. The most conservative approach to treatment is to wear properly fitting support hose or compression stockings. Losing weight, exercising regularly, especially walking, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing, and elevating your legs while sitting or sleeping can minimize the symptoms.
If conservative treatments do not work, a number of other options are available including:
Varicose veins are not inevitable with age. Walking, controlling your weight, wearing low-heeled shoes, and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing in one position are important preventive measures.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition with a red, engorged, cordlike vein, associated with localized swelling, pain or tenderness.
Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is a generalized swelling, warmth and redness in the affected limb; distention of superficial veins; bluish skin color in the limb or toes (cyanosis); and rarely, fever, and chills.
Patients with deep-vein thrombophlebitis may require hospitalization. A number of treatment approaches are utilized including: