Venous Disease

What is Venous Disease?

Veins are the blood vessels in your body that are designed to return blood back to your heart. Unlike arteries, which are muscular, veins are thin-walled and fragile. They rely on small valves and muscle contraction to move the blood out of the legs and back to your heart against gravity. It is not uncommon for these valves to fail, and blood begins to pool in the superficial veins of the legs. This blood will find its way down the saphenous veins and then into more superficial varicosities which often become visible. Large, ropey varicosities are a sign of this process as is swelling and discoloration of the lower part of the legs.

Symptoms of Venous Disease

Because humans stand upright, this problem is very common. Symptoms of venous disease include:

  • Heaviness and aching in the legs, particularly with prolonged standing
  • Fatigue, itching, restlessness, and throbbing in areas where veins are visible
  • Bulging, purple or blue veins visible below the skin
  • Swelling
  • Discolored skin, ulcerations
  • Occasional spontaneous bleeding from superficial veins

Testing for Venous Disease

In order to assess your lower extremity venous system, you will undergo an ultrasound. This ultrasound will provide a functional picture of how the blood in the veins of the legs is returning to the heart, versus how much is pooling in the lower part of the legs. The test will also rule out blood clots in the deep venous system. Testing for venous disease is a requirement by all insurance companies prior to offering treatment.