Venous disease and minimally invasive treatments: What you should know
You may not have heard the term “venous disease,” but you’re probably familiar with spider veins, varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis. According to Cleveland Clinic, these are all types of venous diseases: conditions affecting the veins in your body. Your body relies on healthy veins to move blood back to your heart. The little flaps inside your veins that open and close are called valves, and these are affected by venous disease. There are several types of venous diseases, and fortunately, several treatment options.
The difference between venous and vascular disease
Your veins are part of a larger system called the vascular or circulatory system. This system includes all the vessels carrying blood and lymph through your body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Arteries and capillaries are also important parts of your vascular system. Any disease affecting your vascular system is considered a vascular disease. All venous diseases are vascular diseases, but not all vascular diseases are necessarily venous diseases (think: squares vs. rectangles).
Causes of vascular diseases
Different types of vascular diseases have different causes, but many share contributing risks. If you have a family history of vascular disease, you may have a greater risk of developing one yourself. According to MedlinePlus, other risk factors include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- Injuries and illness
Cleveland Clinic lists six types of venous disease: blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (which is a blood clot in a deep vein), superficial venous thrombosis (which is also called phlebitis, and is a clot that in a vein close to the skin’s surface), chronic venous insufficiency (where the blood pools), varicose and spider veins and ulcers.
Symptoms of venous diseases
According to the Mayo Clinic, unexplained pain or swelling in your legs might be a symptom of one of the most serious forms of venous disease — deep vein thrombosis. Superficial thrombophlebitis can cause redness of the skin, inflammation and pain along a vein just under the skin, or even a hardening of the vein, says Medline Plus. If you notice that your veins look unusual (e.g., red, blue or bulging), this could be a symptom of varicose or spider veins, according to Women’s Health.
If you experience unexplained sudden pain, or think you might have a venous disease, seek medical attention.
Benefits of minimally invasive treatments
Many diseases of the veins and arteries can be treated in a minimally invasive way. Treatments like ablation can reduce complications, minimize pain and shorten recovery time. Other minimally invasive options for treatment of veins and arteries include sclerotherapy and endovenous laser therapy, which aim to treat damaged veins without surgery.
Visiting your doctor or vascular care specialist is the first step in treating and managing potentially painful and harmful diseases of the arteries and veins. Together, you and your doctor can explore the benefits of minimally invasive approaches and decide on a course of treatment that’s right for you. The Reid Vein Clinic at Reid Health offers free vein screenings on a monthly basis. Call (765) 935-8784 for the next available screening.
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