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What Is Vein Disease?

vein disease AZ

So what is vein disease? Put simply, the blood is carried to the heart by veins and carried away by arteries. The blood that in the arteries is pumped away from the heart but there is no pump in the veins. 

In order to return blood to the heart the veins must work against gravity whenever we are sitting or standing. Veins have valves in them that only let the blood travel one way, towards the heart. The muscles in your calves help to push the blood towards the heart every time you start working. It is the job of the valves to stop the blood returning to the calves and ankles. 

When people have a venous insufficiency issue, the valves do not close properly. Pressure builds in the veins because blood will start to pool at the bottom of the legs. Over time this blood, along with water and salt, will start to seep out into the skin and other tissues. This can cause problems such as pain and swelling, discoloration of the legs and restless legs. Ulcers can also form in the legs if the problem is left unchecked which can be very difficult to treat. 

There are two types of veins, deep veins and superficial veins. The superficial veins can be found under the skin and these only carry about 10% of the blood in our bodies. The other 90% is carried by the deep veins. If there is a problem in the deep vein, then this tends to be more serious. These conditions can include things such as deep vein thrombosis or May-Thurner Syndrome and these are both potentially life threatening. This is because clots can form in the deep veins which would be fatal if these clots reached the lungs which is why immediate treatment is needed. 

Who Is At Risk For Venous Insufficiency?  

– Venous insufficiency is often a hereditary condition and there is a 90% chance that you will get it if both your parents had it. 

– As people get older their veins become thinner and the valves start to wear out. 

– There is a greater risk in people who are overweight or obese. 

– Women have a higher risk then men, and the risk increases every time a woman is pregnant. 

– There is a higher risk in professions where people are on their feet all day. 

Disclaimer-The contents of the Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the PVVC site (“content”) are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center site.

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