As the name implies, vein diseases are chronic problems. It is said that 70% of the population will encounter venous problems in their lifetime. Fifty percent of all women past the age of 50 will battle venous issues. This could include anything from pesky spider veins, varicose veins, thrombosis, and post thrombotic syndrome to venous ulcers and open wounds. As with many medical issues, early diagnosis and preventive measures can help you dodge the more serious effects and potential sufferings caused by venous insufficiency. If any of this has peaked your interest, you may now be curious as to what venous insufficiency is and what the causes are?
The earliest tell-tale sign of venous insufficiency is the appearance of those dreaded spider veins. Not only are these uninvited messengers that tend to appear with the onset of our aging process rather unattractive, they are also considered mainly a “cosmetic problem.” Therefore their removal is often not covered by your insurance company. Adding to one’s frustration, they also tend to multiply or reappear in other places over time, even after they were thought to have been banished for good.
Venous insufficiency is primarily an affliction of the veins in the legs because they have to work the hardest out of all veins in our body. All our waking hours every day our leg veins have to work without stopping, pushing blood back up our legs to the heart against gravitational pull. Some veins are simply not strong enough to do this without fail for all our lives. In such cases, whether it is for genetic reasons or due to occupational demands of standing or sitting for long periods of time on a daily basis, veins can become weak and begin to stretch, twist and bulge. When this happens the valves inside the veins that normally prevent blood from flowing back down the legs can no longer do their job efficiently. Blood begins to pool in the deformed veins, also known as varicose veins.
A very common non-invasive treatment involves controlling the early symptoms of venous insufficiency with compression therapy. This can be achieved by applying steady pressure to the patient’s leg(s) with bandages or by wearing graduated compression stockings and other support hosiery, depending on the underlying conditions. Compression therapy is considered a very conservative approach in treating the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency and it must be understood that it can merely control or reduce the symptoms (heaviness, pain, cramping, edema, restless legs etc.) but does not treat the root cause(s).
The use of special elastic compression stockings or compression pantyhose is primarily intended for supporting milder cases of bulging varicose veins and ideally reducing their diameter. In such cases there is no reason for surgical intervention, or surgery may not be possible for other specific reasons. Compression stockings are also frequently applied after surgery to aid in the prevention of thrombosis (blood clots).