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.

venous disease

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:

  • Pregnancy
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • 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.

Photo source: Flickr

2 responses to “Venous disease and minimally invasive treatments: What you should know”

  1. Dee Culbertson says:

    Hi! My name is Dee Culbertson. I have what is called Duplicated Inferior Vena Cava in my left leg due to a birth defect which my body decided in 2012 was tired of working incorrectly and gave up. The IVC is stemming from my abdominal area where I’ve been told from previous testing that has been done, my veins and arteries are a mess and look like the interstate in Indianapolis. I was also born w/o the Greater Saphenious vein in my left leg. Needless to say, I have Venus insufficiency in this leg! The blood pools in my lower leg and ankle causing ALOT of pain and swelling if I do not keep it elevated AND if I am up on it alot. I am not able to walk, sit nor stand for any length of time on this leg w/o a grest deal of pain and swelling and per testing that has been done, the veins & arteries are not allowing proper blood flow back to my heart correctly. It’s getting there, but very slowly. When I asked about any surgery that could be done to fix the problem, I was told by the Intervention Radiologist I was seeing that it was not an option as my entire vascular system would have to be re-routed and that cannot be done. Any suggestions?

    • Dan Printz says:

      Hello Dee,

      We have reached out to the Reid Health Heart and Vascular Center here in Richmond to share your comment and receive feedback.

      In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the Heart & Vascular Center, and request an appointment for further information.

      Thank you for sharing your story!

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