Approximately 50% of women and 45% of men suffer from vein problems, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health. Vein disease may lead to chronic pain, unsightly vein appearance, or even blood clots. Lone Star Surgery provides a variety of surgical and non-surgical vein treatments to reduce symptoms of venous disease.
Veins are a special type of blood vessel that bring oxygen-deprived blood from the body back to the heart to receive more oxygen. Although veins traverse the length of the body, leg veins are the most frequent sites of vein disease because blood tends to pool in them. Spider veins and varicose veins are two of the most common forms of vein disease.
Spider veins appear on the skin as small purple, red, or blue colored vessels that form jagged lines or larger, branched structures. Because spider veins lie close to the surface of the skin, they are easily visible to the naked eye. Spider veins are most often found on the face and legs, although they can appear anywhere on the body.
Unlike spider veins, which tend to be small, varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels that may be quite prominent. Varicose veins can be blue or red, often taking on a cord-like or twisted, bulging appearance. Dr. Robert Lenington of Lone Star Surgery finds that his patients most frequently have varicose veins on the backs of the calves, the highs, or on the inside of the leg. However, pregnant women may experience varicose veins around the buttocks or vaginal area.
In healthy veins, special valves within the vein walls act as flaps, preventing blood from pooling or flowing backward. When these valves become weaker, blood backs up in the vessels and creates varicose veins.
Venous ulcers are usually caused by varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency, and may occur after the above conditions have existed for some time. Venous reflux (or valve failure) or other vein conditions can lead to increased pooling of blood, causing venous hypertension (increased pressures in the vens of the lower leg), which leads to the pooling of blood. These venous conditions may come from more superficial veins (like varicose veins), deeper veins (related to deep vein thrombosis or DVT) or from perforator veins, which connect the veins of the superficial and deep vein systems.
It is critical that venous ulcers be treated appropriately by a vein specialist. Diagnostic testing will help to determine the particular pattern of diseased veins causing the problem. Treatment will typically involve attempts to reduce the swelling in the area and the pressure in the veins.
When this condition manifests itself in a superficial manner, only the subcutaneous veins, which are the blood vessels nearest to the surface of the skin, are involved. This form of phlebitis is common and usually does not result in life threatening symptoms as the more insidious thrombophlebitis. Injury to the veins, smoking, pregnancy, intravenous drug use, inactivity, and obesity can increase the risk for phlebitis. Treatment for this venousness trouble includes antibiotics for infection, warm compressions for soothing the tender area, blood thinners to prevent the development of new clots, as well as a thrombolytic agent to break up existing ones. Staying active and wearing support hose can lower the possibility of experiencing phlebitis.
Stasis dermatitis occurs when the blood becomes stagnant in the lower extremities, causing inflammation. In severe cases blood cells and fluid will leak out of the veins into the surrounding tissue, this can result in complications including itchy skin, swelling, discoloration, and ulcerated sores. Females, those who are middle-aged, and the elderly are at a higher risk for developing stasis dermatitis. Obesity, heart problems, hypertension, kidney failure, and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to this malady.
Treatment for this condition may consist of compression or elastic stockings to reduce the swelling, topical solutions for relieving red, irritated skin, a damp gauze bandage for dressing open wounds, oral antibiotics for bacterial infections, and elevating the legs above the heart when sitting or lying down to assist circulation. To lower the chances of suffering from stasis dermatitis, a person should avoid long periods of sitting or standing in one place. Some form of exercise every day is ideal as well as maintaining a healthy body weight.