Vein Disease and Lower Leg Ulcers

Minimally Invasive Treatments for Varicose Veins

If you're suffering from painful, unsightly varicose veins minimally invasive techniques are available. Patients today have options that just didn’t exist ten years ago.

Do you remember staring at the thick, blue, ropy veins on an older person’s legs? Did you stop and wonder what, exactly, was going on? This article will clear up this childhood mystery. Also, if you’ve got veins problems of your own it can point you in the right direction.

What you were looking at all those years ago are known as varicose veins. They’re perhaps the most outwardly visible signs of vein disease. Yet in reality the ugly veins you think you’re stuck with are just a symptom.

But first let’s start with a side note. Vein disease may sound scary, but in the vast majority of cases it isn’t life threatening. What vein disease can do, however, is leave you with tired, achy, swollen legs covered with unsightly varicose and spider veins.

The source of the problem lies much deeper in veins which can’t be seen on the surface. These form what is unsurprisingly known as the deep vein system. According to Dr. Robert Weiss of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this is actually a good thing.

 

 

“It means that all of the real action is happening in the deep veins. That’s where the vital circulation takes place. We can destroy or remove the diseased surface veins without affecting your circulation,” he says. Later he adds “In reality, by removing bad surface veins, we’re actually improving your circulation.”

Varicose veins and other vein conditions are extremely common. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) puts the number at about 60% of all American adults. About 75% of those who suffer from varicose veins are women. Yet on average the 25% of males who have varicose veins have more severe symptoms. About 90% of those who seek help for varicose veins are women.

The second surface symptom of vein disease are spider veins. This condition is technically known as telangiectasia. These much smaller networks of veins take on a delicate “spider web” pattern. Often the individual veins are so close together that they appear as bluish, purplish blotches. According to Dr. Weiss, spider veins often precede the appearance of varicose veins.

Ultimately nearly all vein conditions are caused by valve problems. Veins contain one-way valves which keep blood flowing towards the heart. When these valves become stretched out and begin to leak blood begins to trickle back down the legs. This is the source of both varicose and spider veins.

For many, this type of vein problem is more than just unsightly. Often so much fluid pools in the lower extremities that the legs start to feel heavy and tired. In many cases the legs also ache. Some patients experience outright pain which can be severe.

What’s more, when veins become stretched out they often become leaky. Clear fluid leaking from these weakened veins further increases pressure in the legs, which can decrease circulation. This can lead to rashes, skin changes, or in severe cases painful ulcers.