Understanding the symptoms of vein disease helps you identify any problems in the early stages. Vein disease symptoms are often mistaken as injury-related. As a result, many patients do not seek a medical diagnosis and treatment until their vein disease is in the moderate to advanced stages. In some cases, vein disease symptoms are indicators of deeper, more significant problems with your circulatory system.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON VEIN DISEASE SYMPTOMS?
The most common vein disease symptoms for residents of Houston, The Woodlands, and the surrounding communities in Texas are the following:
- Bleeding from the legs
Vein disease is a condition that causes the pressure of the blood inside your veins to build over time. When your veins are subjected to excessive pressure over prolonged periods of time, you may experience bleeding from the legs. The blood typically flows through a very tiny opening in your skin, typically no larger than a pinhole. Typically, bleeding from the legs occurs around the ankles, but it can occur anywhere on your legs.
WHAT CAUSES BLEEDING FROM THE LEGS?
Bleeding from the legs is caused by the buildup of pressure inside your veins. The small veins that are close to the surface of your skin eventually weaken to the point of tearing, and the skin outside the vein opens as well.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BLEEDING FROM THE LEGS?
The first step to take when you experience bleeding from the legs is to elevate your feet. This helps reduce the pressure inside the veins. Apply pressure to the opening and seek medical attention. You may need stitches to close the opening. A special solution may be applied to the area to help support the surrounding veins. Once the bleeding is controlled, call our office to schedule a consultation appointment. Bleeding from the legs may be an indication of more significant problems with your circulatory system.
- Darkening of the skin or skin discoloration
Vein disease causes many different symptoms on the surface of your skin, including darkening of the skin or skin discoloration. Darkening of the skin related to vein disease typically occurs around your ankles. The darkening typically appears as brown or brown/black patches.
WHAT CAUSES DARKENING OF THE SKIN?
Most of our patients recognize varicose veins as large, swollen, and painful veins that appear near the surface of their skin. Varicose veins, however, can occur deeper in the body. As the vein weakens, red blood cells may escape through the walls of the vein. The cells become trapped just under your skin and are destroyed. In the process, the red blood cells release hemoglobin, which in turn releases iron. The darkening of the skin is caused by the iron that is released by the hemoglobin.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE DARKENING IF THE SKIN?
Darkening of the skin is typically an indication of a problem deeper under your skin. In some cases, darkening of the skin can develop into leg ulcers. If you experience darkening of the skin, contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment with one of our cardiologists to determine the cause of your skin discoloration.
- Leg swelling or leg pain
Leg swelling or leg pain may be an indication of vein disease. Left untreated, leg swelling, also known as “edema,” may lead to increased pressure of your other tissues. The increased pressure may cause additional medical concerns. Leg pain associated with vein disease is also known as “rest pain.” Patients with this type of leg pain experience discomfort while they are physically active as well as when they are resting.
WHAT CAUSES LEG SWELLING OR LEG PAIN?
Leg swelling or leg pain is caused by improper circulation in your legs. When your blood does not circulate properly, this causes the pressure in your legs to increase. As a result, fluid builds up, causing leg swelling or leg pain. Leg swelling may also be caused by a previous blood clot or compression on your iliac artery.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE LEG SWELLING OR LEG PAIN?
Many people associate leg swelling or leg pain with an injury. As a result, they do not seek treatment until the symptoms worsen. Leg swelling or leg pain that is associated with vein disease is a secondary symptom that indicates a problem deeper within your extremities. If you are experiencing leg swelling or leg pain, contact our office today to schedule a consultation appointment. Our cardiologists will determine the cause of your leg swelling or leg pain and recommend a course of treatment.
- Leg ulcers
Leg ulcers, also known as “venous skin ulcers,” are a shallow wound that appears on your skin. Most leg ulcers form on the sides of the lower legs between the ankle and calf. Unlike other types of wounds, leg ulcers heal slowly and can reoccur.
WHAT CAUSES LEG ULCERS?
Poor blood circulation in your legs causes many conditions, including leg ulcers. Vein disease causes the blood in your legs to flow backwards. The blood pools in lower veins and, eventually, leaks out of the weakened veins and into the surrounding tissue. Leg ulcers form as the blood breaks down the tissue. Some patients are at greater risk for developing leg ulcers due to deep vein thrombosis, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, and standing for long hours.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SKIN ULCERS?
Leg ulcers are secondary signs of more significant issues related to vein disease. If you have leg ulcers, schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists. We conduct a thorough examination to determine the underlying causes of your leg ulcers. We then work closely with you to develop a treatment plan.
- Spider veins
Spider veins are tiny, web-like veins that appear on the surface of your skin. The veins may be red, purple, or blue. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are not painful but are a cosmetic concern. Spider veins can appear on your feet, ankles, calves, chest, and face. If you have spider veins, you may avoid wearing certain types of clothing in order to hide your spider veins.
WHAT CAUSES SPIDER VEINS?
Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by improper blood circulation. Your blood travels from your extremities to your heart through small and large veins. When the valves in the veins do not close properly, the blood flows backwards and pools in small veins. As these small veins fill with blood, they become weak and swollen, causing spider veins to appear.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SPIDER VEINS?
Spider veins do not pose a medical concern, only a cosmetic concern. If you are interested in treatment for your spider veins, call our office to schedule a consultation appointment. We offer several treatment options, and our cardiologists work closely with you to determine the best plan for your spider veins.
- Varicose veins
Varicose veins are large, painful veins that bulge through your skin. The most common areas for varicose veins are the thighs, back of the calves, and inside the leg. These veins are typically red, blue, or skin-colored. Pregnant women may develop varicose veins on their vaginal area and buttocks.
WHAT CAUSES VARICOSE VEINS?
Weak and damaged veins are unable to control the blood flow from your legs and other extremities back to your heart. As a result, small amounts of blood flow backwards, away from the heart. The trapped blood creates additional pressure inside the vein, and the vein walls grow weak. In addition to the visible appearance, varicose veins also cause your legs to feel tired, heavy, and restless. You may also experience numbness, cramping, and itching.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE VARICOSE VEINS?
Varicose veins cause significant discomfort and typically indicate other problems with your venous system. If you have varicose veins, schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists. We examine your varicose veins and determine the best treatment for your case. Because varicose veins may indicate other problems, we perform a thorough examination to identify any other vein disease medical issues.
- Venous Reflux
Venous reflux describes a condition of your circulatory system. The veins of your body are responsible for delivering blood back to your heart. Normal, healthy veins are able to overcome the force of gravity by using valves to keep blood from flowing backwards. Damaged and weakened veins do not function properly, causing a multitude of symptoms, such as spider veins, varicose veins, leg swelling, leg pain, bleeding from the legs, skin discoloration, and leg ulcers.
WHAT CAUSES VENOUS REFLUX?
Inside your veins, small valves open to allow blood to travel to the heart. After the blood passes, these valves close to prevent blood from returning to your lower extremities. Venous reflux occurs when your veins are weak or damaged. The valve does not close properly, and blood returns to the lower vein. The vein expands and swells to accommodate the excess blood. As a result, the walls of the vein weaken. Eventually, the vein may rupture, and the blood may escape through the tear.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE VENOUS REFLUX?
You may not know that you have venous reflux until one of the symptoms appears. Treatment for venous reflux is based upon the specific cause of your symptoms. Early detection increases your chances of effectively managing your venous reflux. If you experience any of the symptoms of venous reflux, call our office to schedule an examination.
ARE SOME PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE VEIN DISEASE SYMPTOMS?
Vein disease affects men and women of any age and activity level. Risk factors that aggravate vein disease include:
- Family medical history
- Frequently standing for prolonged periods of time