The Heart House Vein Center

gips_vermaThe Heart House Vein Center specializes in the treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis and other venous disease. Approximately half of the population has some form of vein disease. Varicose veins affect up to 25% of all adults and about half of all people over 50. The most common cause of vein disease is heredity. Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, is a contributing cause of vein disease. Other factors include age, obesity, certain medications, hormonal changes, injury, jobs that require long periods of standing, and advancing age.

Common Vein Disorders

varicose_vein_01Varicose veins Varicose veins are swollen, dark blue or purple blood vessels that you can see and feel beneath the skin. They often look like twisted cords, and usually appear on the calves, thighs, inside of the legs, and ankles. People with varicose veins often experience leg swelling, tired legs, restless legs, night cramps, itching, and skin darkening, especially at the ankles.

spider_vein_01Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are small, thin, blood vessels visible beneath the skin. They appear on the upper and lower legs and may look like a series of lines, tree branches, or a spider- or web-like shape with a dark center.

Deep vein thrombosis, commonly referred to as DVT, occurs when a blood clot enters the large veins of the legs or pelvic area. They may be painful, but some may be completely asymptomatic. DVT is usually treated with anticoagulant medicines. These medicines are often called blood thinners, but they do not actually thin the blood. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form. Also, anticoagulants help prevent existing blood clots from becoming larger.

NOTE: Varicose veins and superficial veins cannot be safely treated when DVT is present. For patients with DVT, your condition and its treatment should be monitored by your primary physician and/or general cardiologist.

What causes veins to enlarge?

The veins in your legs are tubes that carry blood from your legs to your heart. One-way valves are located along these tubes. These valves are supposed to only allow the blood to flow up, out of your legs, and back to your heart. Occasionally, a problem will develop with the valves that allow the blood to flow backward and build up in the leg vein. This is known as reflux. When reflux occurs, extra pressure is placed on the walls of the vein. This causes the vein to expand.

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From left to right: Normal vein with valve open, normal vein with valve closed,
varicose vein with “leaky” valve.

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may cause an aching or burning feeling in your legs, pain, itching around the vein, swelling, color changes in the skin or non-healing sores. An ultrasound examination is often performed to evaluate the “health” of your veins. This procedure uses sound waves to visualize what is happening inside the body and is painless.

Consequences of Untreated Venous Reflux

If not treated, venous reflux may cause pain, swelling and varicose veins. These problems may progress to permanent darkening of the skin, bleeding, blood clots, non-healing ulcers and infection.

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Large varicose veins and early skin changes from venous reflux.

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Increased pigmentation, eczema and swelling caused by more advanced disease.

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Venous stasis ulcer, which is one of the worst complications of untreated venous reflux.

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