About Vein Disease

Arteries and veins are the vessels that transport blood to and from various parts of the body. Arteries are muscular, thick vessels that carry blood away from the heart and veins are the thinner vessels that return blood to the heart. Blood returning to the heart from the legs has to flow against gravity. Between heartbeats, the veins have to support the weight of the blood. To help with this, the veins have valves that open and close to keep blood flow moving in one direction and decrease venous pressure. If the valves fail, due to disease or damage, blood is pulled by gravity down the leg in reverse direction and can pool. The weight of the blood puts excessive pressure on the veins, causing them to elongate and dilate. As they enlarge, they become visible on the legs as varicose veins, or spider veins. This is known as chronic venous insufficiency or vein disease.

Causes of Vein Disease

Millions of people have some form of vein disease. Many factors contribute to chronic vein disease and the development of varicose veins including:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Lifestyle
  • Sitting and standing for prolonged periods of time
  • Being overweight
  • History of blood clots or injury
  • Women who have had multiple pregnancies.

Signs of Vein Disease

  • The most common signs of venous insufficiency is a varicosed vein.
  • Dilated veins are often seen on the inside of the thigh and also the lower leg.
  • Larger varicose veins are skin colored and are often bulging.
  • Smaller varicose veins may appear blue or green and are known as reticular veins.
  • Spider veins will appear. They are the small, blue or purple veins that have almost a spider web-like appearance.
  • Heavyaching sensation in legs, which is particularly worse at the end of the day.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome and cramping of the legs have been linked to varicose veins and vein disease.

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