WHAT IS VENOUS DISEASE?
Venous Disease afflicts approximately 20-25% of the female population and 10-15% of the male population in one form or another, usually as varicose or spider veins. This problem can occasionally affect teenagers, but occurs more commonly in the thirties, forties, and fifties, however, it can occur even later. It is generally a lifetime disorder and although the causes are usually genetic, additional factors may play a significant and predisposing role.
Veins are responsible for returning blood to the heart after it travels through the arterial system into the legs. The venous system is composed of both a deep and superficial system. The deep system returns 90% of the venous blood and is situated within the muscles of the leg, while the superficial system returns the remaining 10%.
Varicose veins (large veins) involve the superficial system. A varicose vein is a dilated, tortuous vein with reverse-flowing blood, i.e., blood flowing backwards down the leg toward the feet. This phenomenon occurs because of valve failure either alone or in conjunction with dilation of vein walls. These veins are not only unattractive, but are usually symptomatic, i.e., burning, aching, throbbing, heaviness and swelling.
Spider and medium sized veins (reticular) can be found on the face, chest, abdomen and legs, either alone or in association with varicose (large) veins. Spider veins are fine, threadlike, purplish-blue, or red veins seen close to the surface of the skin. While sometimes painless, patients often complain of stinging or burning sensations. Spider veins are often associated with medium-sized veins, which may feed into them with reverse flowing blood under pressure from a deeper source.
Medium sized reticular veins are turquoise-blue veins often located on the torso, behind the knees, or along the sides of the thighs, knees, and calves.Generally these veins are present along with spider veins. Often they cause symptoms of sharp or stinging pains. Pressure in these veins results from connections with the deep system.
Spider and medium sized veins do not contribute to normal circulation. Their elimination controls symptoms and improves the appearance and superficial circulation of the legs.