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What Are the Symptoms of Vein Disease?

Vein disease is an umbrella medical term for any condition or disorder that affects your veins, or the thin-walled vessels which transport deoxygenated blood from your organs, tissues, and extremities back to your heart.  

When vein disease damages one or more of your veins, they no longer work as they should. The ensuing circulatory effects can give rise to a variety of symptoms — ranging from mild surface vein problems to more severe, deep vein concerns. 

Read on as our expert team at Vascular Vein Centers explores the ins and outs of vein disease, including common warning signs that may indicate its presence. 

When veins become weak or damaged

In a healthy circulatory system, blood moves freely through your arteries and veins, exerting just the right amount of pressure as it continuously flows through your body. 

The circulatory equation  

Arteries are the thick-walled vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your organs and tissues. As soon as the oxygen is dispensed, your veins — which have thinner walls and a series of one-way, gravity-defying internal valves — move the “used” blood back to your heart for fresh oxygen.  

Vein damage is common

Superficial veins are located close to the skin surface, while deep veins are found within the muscles of your arms and legs. Various factors are associated with an increased risk of both superficial and deep vein damage, including:

The more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing vein damage — especially in your leg veins, which are under greater stress as they work against gravity. 

Vein damage progression 

Because they can’t keep your blood moving efficiently toward your heart, damaged veins slow normal circulation. Inefficient circulation allows blood to pool behind the vessels’ one-way valves and flow backward when your muscles are relaxed, setting the stage for an unusually high-pressure buildup in the veins.   

From varicose veins to blood clots  

Over time, the pressure buildup inside a dysfunctional vein causes the vessel’s wall to stretch, swell, and twist, increasing valve incompetence, making blood flow even more sluggish, and increasing the risk of blood clot formation. 

This condition is what leads to the various disorders known as venous disease, including:

Without intervention, one form of venous disease may lead to another: Varicose veins increase your risk of developing venous insufficiency as well as superficial blood clots; superficial blood clots increase your risk of developing DVT.   

Possible warning signs of vein disease 

Vein disease can cause a range of symptoms depending on the nature and severity of the underlying disorder. You might experience any combination the following:

Heavy, achy, painful legs

Ongoing leg pain is a common sign of vein disease. Even if it’s generally dull or mildly achy, it’s often accompanied by heaviness, fatigue, or cramping sensations that worsen after extended periods of standing or sitting — and temporarily ease when your legs are elevated.   

Tingling, itching, or burning 

When vein disease slows normal blood flow in your legs, the resulting circulatory stagnation can irritate local nerves and trigger uncomfortable sensations like tingling, itching, or burning. Whether they’re intermittent or continuous, these sensations tend to occur mostly at night when you’re resting and your blood flow is slower.  

Redness and warmth 

Generalized redness, warmth, and swelling in your leg can indicate a blood clot in a deep vein (DVT); localized redness, warmth, and swelling — typically around a visibly engorged surface vein — can be a warning sign of a superficial clot.  

Visible vein deformities 

Varicose leg veins, or swollen, twisted, rope-like veins just below the skin, are one of the most common signs (and forms) of vein disease, as are the sprawling networks of smaller reticular veins and spider veins. 

Though mild vein deformities typically indicate mild vein disease, varicose veins and spider veins can progress over time, leading to worsening vein disease and related complications. 

Lower extremity swelling

The sluggish lower extremity blood flow caused by vein dysfunction can also damage nearby capillaries. As these tiny vessels leak fluid, blood cells, and proteins into adjacent tissues, fluid builds up and your legs swell (edema). 

Skin changes and ulcers 

When increased vascular pressure, slow circulation, and fluid buildup deprive the overlying skin tissues of oxygen, you may notice skin changes like thickening, discoloration, or scaling. These changes can lead to the formation of open, slow-healing wounds called venous ulcers

You can improve your vascular health

Have you noticed signs of vein disease? There’s a lot you can do to improve your vascular health — and our experts at Vascular Vein Centers are here to help. Call or click online to schedule a visit at your nearest office in College Park of Orlando, Waterford Lakes of East Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Davenport/Haines City, or The Villages, Florida, today.

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