What is Venous Disease?
Venous disease is comprised of a number of disorders that damage the veins and cause issues within the circulatory system. To best understand venous disease, it’s helpful to grasp how circulation works.
The circulatory system is powered by the heart. As the heart beats, it pumps blood through the body and extremities via a system of arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins carry blood back to the heart.
To facilitate the return trip of blood towards the heart, veins typically have a series of one-way valves. In a healthy circulatory system, these valves open and close as the body moves. However, as we age (and due to a series of other risk factors including heredity, pregnancy, and obesity), these valves can begin to fail, allowing blood to flow backwards. This often occurs as the elasticity in the vein wall weakens, the vein distends, and the valve leaflets can no longer function properly. The result of this damage can lead to increased swelling, sluggish blood flow, and even blood clots.
Types of Vein Disease
Venous diseases include:
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood disorder resulting from the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) inside a deep vein of the leg, commonly located in the calf or thigh.
Varicose veins result from valve failure (or venous reflux) in veins of the leg.
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are often related to (and may appear in combination with) varicose veins and can derive from the same underlying causes.