When you think about your health, you might not give much thought to your veins. But they’re an important part of your circulatory system, and a problem with them can be serious.
Many different diseases can affect your blood vessels, especially your veins, and some of them are more common than others. These diseases can cause a range of problems, from discomfort and swelling to more serious health complications. In this blog post, we will discuss four common vascular diseases, including their symptoms and treatment options. If you think you may be suffering from one of these conditions, contact the experts at Prima CARE today.
Varicose veins are a common condition in the United States. Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins become damaged or weakened, causing blood to pool in your legs. This then causes the veins to enlarge and become twisted. Certain people are more at risk for developing varicose veins, like those who are overweight, have a family history of the condition, or have a job that requires standing for long stretches of the day. Women are also more likely to develop varicose veins during pregnancy.
However, there are ways to prevent varicose veins. Some simple lifestyle changes, like maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, can help by improving circulation. You should also avoid sitting or standing for long periods and wear loose-fitting clothing to help reduce pressure on your veins.
A varicose vein is usually not a serious medical condition, but it can cause pain, discomfort, swelling, cramping, and fatigue. In some cases, varicose veins can lead to more serious health problems, such as blood clots or ulcers. If you have varicose veins, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings or taking medication to ease the symptoms. In the case of severe varicose veins, you may need to undergo surgery.
At our Center for Vascular Diseases, our experts treat varicose veins using a technology called radiofrequency ablation, or RFA. RFA is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses heat to close off the affected vein. This method of treating varicose veins is safe, effective, and has a short recovery time.
Varicose veins and spider veins are often confused because they both involve abnormal veins. However, there are some key differences between the two conditions. Unlike larger varicose veins, spider veins are much smaller and tend to be closer to the skin's surface. They can occur on any area of the body but are most commonly found on the legs, thighs, and ankles. Also, while they can occur for the same reasons as varicose veins, they are more common in women and people over the age of 50.
Spider veins get their name from their appearance. They often look like a spider's web or a branch of a tree. Spider veins can be red, blue, or purple and are usually not painful. However, they can cause some discomfort, such as itching and burning.
Whether you're searching out spider vein treatments because they're uncomfortable or for cosmetic reasons, our experts have a way to help. We use a treatment called sclerotherapy to treat both spider veins and small varicose veins. During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into the affected veins. This solution irritates the vein walls, causing them to collapse and eventually disappear.
Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for spider veins with minimal side effects. Because it's just an injection and not a surgery, it's usually performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require anesthesia.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually one of your leg veins. This is usually the result of the blood flow in your veins becoming slowed or interrupted. This can happen for many reasons, including sitting still for long periods, being overweight or obese, smoking, and pregnancy.
DVT can cause pain, swelling, and cramping in your legs. In some cases, it can also lead to more serious health problems, such as a pulmonary embolism (PE). This happens when the blood clot breaks off and travels to your lungs, often causing shortness of breath, chest pain, and even coughing up blood. A PE can be life-threatening, which is why it's important to be aware of the symptoms of DVT. By being in the know, you can seek treatment as soon as possible if you think you may have the condition.
If you do suspect you may have DVT, it's important to see a doctor right away. They will likely perform a physical exam and order some tests, such as an ultrasound, to confirm the diagnosis.
There are several treatments for DVT, depending on the severity of the condition. These include blood thinners, which help to dissolve the clot, and surgery, which is usually only necessary in cases where there is a large clot or a high risk of complications. If you can't take blood thinning medication, an IVC Filter, or a metal trap that stops blood clots from the legs travel to the lungs, may be placed.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition that occurs when the arteries in your legs become narrowed or blocked. This happens because of a buildup of plaque, which is made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, this plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through them.
PAD is a serious condition because it can lead to other health problems, such as heart attack and stroke. It's also a leading cause of lower extremity amputations.
Symptoms of PAD include leg pain or cramping when you walk or exercise (known as claudication), numbness or weakness in the legs, and sores or ulcers on the feet or legs that won't heal.
If you think you may have PAD, it's important to see a doctor right away. They will likely perform a physical exam and order some tests, such as an MRI or angiogram, to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for PAD typically includes lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and exercising more. You may also need to take medication to improve blood flow or have surgery to open up blocked arteries. In severe cases, a vein specialist may recommend one of many procedures, including an angioplasty, an atherectomy, a bypass, or an endarterectomy.
The best way to avoid any vascular disease is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. If you have any risk factors for vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, it's important to work with your primary care physician to get these under control to help reduce your risk.
If you think you may be at risk for any of these conditions, or if you have any symptoms, don't hesitate to make an appointment with the vascular specialist at Prima CARE. We will help you get the care and treatment you need to stay healthy and prevent serious health problems down the road.
At Prima CARE, we're proud to offer many services and specialties to our patients. To learn more about our vascular specialists, visit our Center for Vascular Diseases website(opens in a new tab) or schedule an appointment(opens in a new tab) today!