Vein disease is highly manageable if diagnosed and treated in its early stages. However, if the condition is left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency and other vein diseases can cause some very serious complications.
Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the veins become unable to transport the blood from your legs back to your heart. These veins are full of small valves that keep the blood flowing in the right direction. When these valves become damaged and stop working, the blood can start to flow backward and begin to pool in your legs.
One of the most common symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency is the development of varicose or spider veins in the leg region. Despite their appearance, varicose or spider veins are usually not a serious medical problem, but they can develop into one.
Left untreated, these damaged veins can cause serious complications, such as ulcers, bleeding, and a potentially fatal condition called deep vein thrombosis.
If the blood pools in the legs long enough, the cells can begin to clump together, forming a blood clot. This clot is referred to as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. What makes DVT so dangerous is that if the clot breaks free, it can travel to the heart or lungs. When the blood clot interferes with the functioning of the heart or lungs, it triggers what is called a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism can be deadly.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, sweating, and severe coughing or coughing up blood. If you begin to experience any of these problems, call 911 immediately. A pulmonary embolism is a serious life-threatening medical emergency. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans die as a result of complications from a pulmonary embolism.
Scary right? Don't panic. There are many effective ways to treat and manage chronic venous insufficiency.
While anyone can experience venous insufficiency, some people are at higher risk of developing varicose veins and other venous insufficiency problems than others. Being older, overweight, a female, pregnant, or having a family history of vein problems puts you at added risk of developing vein disease.
If you belong to one of these high risk groups and start to notice the appearance of spider or varicose veins, schedule an appointment with a vein doctor to determine if your condition poses a danger.
Lifestyle changes that can help prevent and manage venous insufficiency include exercise, losing weight, avoiding sitting or standing for long periods, elevating the feet while seated, and wearing compression stockings.
There are many effective venous insufficiency treatments available. Venous insufficiency treatments include injecting the vein with a solution to help seal it off, non-invasive laser treatments, catheter-assisted procedures, and minor surgical procedures that involve sealing off and removing the damaged vein. Most venous insufficiency treatments are performed as out-patient procedures that leave little or no scarring.
Left untreated, a minor venous insufficiency problem could lead to a potentially fatal medical emergency. The BASS Vein Center provides patients all over the East Bay Area with the latest in venous insufficiency treatment procedures to help prevent and manage the symptoms of their vein disease.
If you have any of the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, including throbbing or cramping leg pain, "heavy" legs, swelling, and changes in the skin, such as blue, purple, or red discoloration, contact the BASS Vein Center online or call us at(925) 281-5912 to schedule an appointment with a vein specialist.