Veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart so that it can pump the blood through the lungs for oxygenation. Many confuse veins for arteries though, but arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the various organs. This is important to remember since even though arterial disease is a major cause of concern, we should also become familiar with signs of venous disease. Treating venous diseases can be as simple as elevating your feet at the end of the day, while others could require a venous stent. Below are some facts about venous disease.
Blood flow in your veins doesn’t rely on the force of your heartbeat; instead, muscle contractions push your blood along, and small valves prevent them from flowing back. Venous disease often occurs when these valves fail, such as when you age. Pregnant women are also at risk for this condition, since blood volume increases to support the unborn child, and the additional blood can enlarge veins and render valves incompetent.
Signs and Symptoms
People who have a venous disease such as varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) would note swelling and leg pain that tends to get worse after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. As the condition progresses, simple exercises could also become difficult to perform as the swelling and pain worsen. In its severe form, varicose veins can cause significant bleeding as well as the formation of ulcers.
If you have symptoms of venous disease, your doctor would recommend that you elevate your legs often, to allow the blood to flow back to the heart. He may also prescribe compression stockings or blood thinners. For more severe cases, such as in DVT, the doctor may need to place a stent within the affected vein. The device will hold the vessel open and promote blood flow.
Some symptoms of venous disease may seem tolerable, but without treatment, the condition may worsen. Consult a specialist regarding your symptoms for early diagnosis and prompt treatment.