The blood in the lower limbs goes back to the heart through the veins in the legs – the one-way valves keep the flow from going the wrong way. When the veins fail to transmit blood properly, Chronic Venous Disease (CVD) could occur and affect your health, as well as cause discomfort and pain.
It’s always prudent to arm yourself with information – vein health expert Veniti states these are the things you need to learn about CVD.
CVD can develop if there’s a blood clot in one of the veins in the leg (called deep vein thrombosis). It damages the valve that ensures correct movement of the blood, causing it to flow backwards instead of towards the heart.
Those who often spend their days sitting or standing for long periods can also suffer from CVD, due to the pressure on the veins that weaken its structure and valves.
Those who live a sedentary lifestyle are also susceptible to CVD – lack of exercise or regular movement and stimulation can cause as much damage as hours and hours of being upright.
The damaged valves of the veins in your legs will show some signs that you can see and feel, depending on the severity:
- Spider and varicose veins – dilated veins that are visible just under the skin; spider veins are small, dilated veins (also called teleangiectasias) that are not as alarming if found on the thigh areas but are a larger concern if on the ankle (which means a serious venous insufficiency). Varicose veins are dilated veins that are 3 mm or larger – a sign of blood reflux (blood not flowing correctly towards the heart).
- Leg swelling and pain – general discomfort and aching of the legs can be a sign of CVD, especially if you stand or sit for long stretches. it could also include tingling, tiredness, and heaviness
- Skin changes on the legs – darkening of the affected area is a sign of a more serious case of CVD. Symptoms also include staining of the skin, brown discoloration, and itchy, raw, red and flaky skin. The pressure on the veins is what causes ulcers on your legs later on, which can lead to worsened pain, infection at the ulcer site, and abnormal high temperature.
3. Risk Factors
Women have a higher chance of having CVD compared to men – and the risk increases if you are any of the following:
- Severely overweight/obese
- 50 years old and above
- Pregnant, or have been pregnant multiple times
- A smoker
- Someone with a family history of chronic venous disease
A full consultation with your trusted medical professional is essential to finding the right kind of treatment for CVD. There are several options for treating the symptoms, such as schlerotherapy or microsclerotherapy, laser surgery, surgical vein stripping, and other vein surgeries.
Ulcers are open wounds, so prevention of infection is crucial. You can correct this by treating the damaged veins that caused the symptoms to reduce the pressure in the area. For cases in which deep veins are affected, medically-prescribed compression treatment is necessary.
There are several consequences if you leave CVD untreated; it can definitely cause further pain and discomfort:
- Larger skin ulcers
- Severe venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the lower limbs because of the blood reflux; it slows down the flow of blood to the heart and can cause pulmonary embolism)
- Green, unpleasant-smelling discharge from ulcer sites
For more information, discuss the disease with your doctor.