Vascular disease includes any condition that affects the circulatory system. The circulatory system carries blood, pumped by the heart, throughout the body. The vessels are elastic tubes that carry blood to part of the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins return it.
May be a symptom of a larger vascular issue
Varicose veins, sometimes referred to as venous varicoses or varicosities, are enlarged veins which have become weak, dilated and filled with blood. Often these are twisted and bulging veins and can have a bluish, purple or red color. Occasionally these leg veins are inside the leg and cannot be seen on the surface.
According to recent studies varicose veins affect over one-half of the people age 50 and older in the United States, as well as affecting a significantly high percentage of Americans in their 30s and 40s. Although sometimes referred to as a cosmetic concern, more often these veins are a sign of a larger venous complication like Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
also known as Venous Reflux Disease
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), often referred to as Venous Reflux Disease or Venous Stasis, is a condition of inadequate blood flow from the legs back to the heart. A combination of muscle activity and a series of one-way valves normally keep blood flowing upward from the lower extremities to the heart. With Venous Insufficiency blood circulation is severely hampered, the valves become weak and ineffective allowing blood to pool in the lower legs.
CVI affects more than 30 million Americans which makes it ten times more prevalent than Peripheral Artery Disease. Unfortunately, less than two million Americans get treated annually, most likely because Vein Disease is not usually lethal. The likelihood of death from Chronic Venous Insufficiency is extremely low but a decrease in quality of life caused by this condition is extremely high.
Commonly dismissed as "Just Cosmetic"
Spider Veins, also known as telangiectasia, are a group of dilated veins located just under the surface of the skin and most often found on the legs. Usually red or blue in color, they resemble spider webs or tree branches. While smaller than varicose veins, spider veins share some common characteristics with varicose veins in terms of causes and symptoms.
While sometimes a cosmetic issue, more often than not, there is an underlying venous disease that is of greater concern. These veins can sometimes be painful, burn, itch or, in the worst instances, rupture and cause bleeding. For these reasons it is always best to have a Vein Specialist diagnose varicose or spider veins in order to rule out these larger issues.
Venous Leg Ulcers
A Serious Issue that can lead to Amputation
Venous leg ulcers represent the utmost acute form of peripheral vein disorders. Typically venous ulcers form at the location of the highest venous pressure in your legs, most commonly the middle part of the ankle. These ulcers can take months to heal and often without treatment, may remain for an indefinite period of time.
It is imperative that adequate time is taken to identify the underlying cause of the ulcer using vascular ultrasound. A vein specialist will often implement a multi-disciplinary approach, working directly with your podiatrist, wound-care center, and/or orthopedic surgeon. An individual plan is formulated based on the ultrasound findings, and usually begins with radiofrequency ablation, compression therapy, and various dressings.
Often patients will notice a significant improvement on the severity of the wound following the initial radiofrequency treatment. If surgery is needed, we will normally perform venous ablation immediately.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Blood clots in deep veins cause significant pain and could be life threatening
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), also referred to as Deep Venous Thrombosis, is a blood clot located within a deep vein, usually in the leg. A blood clot that breaks free and travels up to the heart or lungs is referred to as a Pulminary Embolism (PE), which can stop blood flow and cause sudden death. The CDC estimates up to 100,000 Americans die every year from preventable DVT/PE.
In addition, Deep Vein Thrombosis blood clots in the leg can permanently damage veins. The result in 50% of DVT survivors is Chronic Venous Insufficiency which results in long-term leg pain, heaviness and swelling that can progress to difficulty in walking, changes in skin color and open leg sores (known as leg ulcers). Deep Venous Thrombosis can significantly impair quality of life.
Failure of lymph system to remove fluid and cellular waste
Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid due to a back-up or congestion in the lymphatic system. There are two types, primary and secondary.
There are two types, primary and secondary. Primary is genetically driven. It is a condition one is born with (congenital), and develops just after puberty or pregnancy (praecox), or after the age of 35 (tarda). Contributing factors to the development of lymphedema praecox and
Contributing factors to the development of lymphedema praecox and tarda include obesity and specific types of arthritis. Secondary lymphedema is caused by other health conditions such as cancer, surgery, or infection.
An embarrassing topic and often not talked about
Vulvar Varicosities, sometimes referred to as vaginal varicose veins or varicose veins in the vulva, are common in ten percent of pregnant women. Occasionally symptoms present in women who have never been pregnant. The lack of attention to this disorder is typically due to the limited number of vein specialists with experience in this area and a reluctance by women to discuss this extremely personal concern.
An increase in estrogen and progesterone and the weight of a new baby typically contribute to underlying venous insufficiency, and the symptoms of varicose veins in the legs and vaginal area. With every additional pregnancy, symptoms typically occur earlier and become more significant.