Vein Care 101

The Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Vein Disease

May 28, 2024

Behind the veil of everyday health concerns lies a silent threat that often goes unnoticed until it reaches its advanced stages: chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), also known as vein disease. Vein disease is a progressive condition that can lead to debilitating symptoms and severe complications if left untreated. In this article, we delve into the importance of early detection and treatment of CVI, exploring its stages, symptoms, and potential risks.

Understanding Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Vein disease affects 1 in 3 adults. CVI is widely underdiagnosed, undertreated, and under discussed — but we’re hoping to change that!

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins of the legs fail to function properly, leading to impaired blood flow back to the heart and causing a variety of symptoms in the legs, ranging in severity from mild to serious. CVI is not a static condition; it progresses over time if left unchecked. In its early stages, patients may experience mild symptoms such as spider veins, leg cramps, or a feeling of heaviness in the legs. However, as the condition advances, symptoms can worsen significantly.

Stages of Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Because vein disease is progressive, symptoms will continue to escalate until the issue is addressed. These painful and uncomfortable experiences are your body’s way of alerting you that something is not right — and it’s best to listen to these cues before the symptoms greatly impact your quality of life. Proactively treating vein disease is the safest course of action, and prevents the worsening of symptoms and the development of serious or even potentially life-threatening health issues.

Mild symptoms: The beginning stages of chronic venous insufficiency are often dismissed because the symptoms are infrequent and don’t impact daily living or because people relate the symptoms to other causes. Aches and pains, light cramping after a day spent on your feet, and swelling in ankles that improves when you elevate your legs are all symptoms that can be related to CVI. Don’t write them off as unavoidable parts of aging! Spider veins may also appear on the skin, but may not cause symptoms such as pain. If you’re experiencing changes in your legs, discomfort, cramping, itching (in the absence of bug bites or rash), or tingling sensations, our vein specialists recommend that you come to a clinic to speak with a professional about your concerns. It can’t hurt to rule out the underlying cause with a vein evaluation, just to be on the safe side.

Moderate symptoms: As vein disease progresses, your body will become more insistent that you seek medical attention. Restless legs may begin to interrupt your sleep, and make it difficult for you to enjoy your leisure time in comfort. Swelling and edema may worsen, and ankles may become so swollen that they are difficult to visually separate from the lower leg. Burning sensations may now accompany itching or tingling, and the aching in your legs may limit your mobility or time spent being active. Visible varicose veins may bulge against the skin — these twisted, cord-like veins are distorted from their original state due to malfunctioning vein valves and compromised vein walls.

When symptoms interrupt your sleep, it is time to contact a vein specialist near you and schedule an appointment for medical assistance. Your ability to rest is integral to all aspects of your life, as is the health of your circulatory system.

Severe symptoms: In its later stages, vein disease takes a very obvious, visual toll on the legs. Bigger and even more alarming health concerns may emerge. It is critical to seek medical treatment if you see any of the following symptoms of the late stages of severe vein disease.

Venous ulcers, which are wounds born from long standing vein disease, can appear on the skin. These wounds do not heal like normal injuries, and can greatly increase the risk of infection due to breaches of the skin barrier. Additionally, swelling, skin weeping (leakage of fluid onto the skin’s surface) and firm, coarse-textured skin may be present on the legs, which can be painful. Some patients may even experience eczema-like dryness and flakiness, while others may experience a darkening or reddening of the skin. The presence of these symptoms can affect mobility, limiting movement or ability to stand for prolonged periods. This in turn contributes to limitations on daily activities and a sedentary lifestyle, which can further worsen the symptoms of vein disease. With these limitations, some individuals progress to the state of being bedridden, while others may start using mobility aids like canes, walking sticks or walkers.

Serious health risks: Vein disease can lead to conditions that require emergency care, such as the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a deep vein. When deep veins become diseased, it is not often visible to the naked eye in the same way as when varicose veins appear near the surface of the skin. DVTs can go undetected for quite some time. If a DVT forms in the legs, it does have the potential to travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolisms (blood clot in the lungs), which can be fatal.

Warning signs of a DVT are oftentimes asymmetrical. Symptoms may include tightening or firmness of the skin due to swelling, skin that is hot to the touch, and skin that is red or painful. DVTs are a concern for those suffering from severe symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, and this health issue may require the care of emergency room staff due to the dangerous nature of the blood clot. Taking a proactive approach to your vein health is a great way to minimize the risk of developing a DVT.

Notice the Signs and Act

Early detection and treatment of CVI are crucial to prevent its progression, limit discomfort and pain, and mitigate the associated symptoms and complications. Seeking medical attention at the first signs of vein disease and scheduling minimally invasive vein treatments can dramatically improve your quality of life.

At Metro Vein Centers, we offer vein evaluations for all incoming patients, where our board-certified vein doctors will customize a treatment plan unique to your exact symptoms, concerns and lifestyle.

Modern advancements in vein treatment technology have allowed for a wide variety of gentle, effective, and FDA-approved treatments to become available, often covered by insurance as a medical necessity. From radiofrequency ablation to sclerotherapy, VenaSeal, Varithena™, and more, treatments are versatile, precise, and do not disrupt your normal life.

Treated veins will not reappear. Treatments are minimally invasive, complete in 30 minutes (on average). No bed rest, hospital stay, or even anesthesia required. Patients can walk or drive themselves home after their appointment, immediately returning to their day-to-day routine, with slight adjustments for those who regularly participate in strenuous activities such as vigorous exercise or heavy lifting. Additionally, your vein specialist can share lifestyle modifications to help improve your vein health.

We care very much about raising awareness, promoting proactive healthcare, and preventing unnecessary suffering. Vein disease is often hereditary, and despite even the healthiest, most active lifestyles, individuals may develop varicose veins simply because others in their family had them. Seeking treatment and experiencing success may cause a domino effect in your community, showing family and friends that they don’t have to live with the pain and discomfort associated with vein disease.

By addressing CVI in its early stages, patients can improve their quality of life, reduce the risk of complications, and avoid the debilitating effects of advanced vein disease.

We’ve Got You Covered

Our team of board-certified vein specialists offer free vein evaluations in all of our New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, Arizona, and Pennsylvania vein clinics. We offer minimally invasive and 100% non-invasive vein treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other painful or uncomfortable symptoms of vein disease. Our team is happy to answer any inquiries about treatment options, scheduling, or insurance coverage — in fact, we accept over 200 insurance plans in our clinics! Our state-of-the-art vein treatments can be performed in under 30 minutes, in our accredited vein clinics, by our certified vein doctors. Give us a call at 866-353-5558 to schedule your free vein evaluation and get started on your vein treatment journey!

Trusted insight from the nationally accredited, board-certified vein doctors at Metro Vein Centers.

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