Who Suffers From Venous Disease?
Rajagopalan Ravi, MD, FACS
Medical Director, Vein Center
Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart Hospital
Venous disease can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible to certain types of venous disease. For example, women are three times more likely than men to have spider or varicose veins. Varicose veins also have a tendency to run in families. Other risk factors for varicose veins include age, obesity, pregnancy (pregnant women are more likely to develop spider and/or varicose veins) and extreme height. People with jobs that require them to stand for long periods often develop varicose veins, as well.
Thrombophlebitis is more likely to occur in people who have had surgery, a baby or a long-standing illness requiring bed rest and inactivity.
Vein problems are often hereditary and may reoccur periodically. So it is important not to neglect the early signs of varicose veins, ulcer formation or even troublesome spider veins. Neglect and lack of treatment can lead to long-term disability. In the case of varicose veins, the symptoms depend on the size and type of varicose veins in the legs. A feeling of heaviness in the legs is a common early symptom. Other symptoms include a feeling of fatigue in the leg muscles, aching in the legs, ankle swelling at the end of the day, skin discoloration, tenderness and soreness along the veins and night time leg cramps.
With venous stasis disease, symptoms occur primarily in the lower leg and can include swelling, tenderness, skin discoloration, dry, scaly, itchy skin, skin ulcers and pain when standing that is relieved with elevation.
Thrombophlebitis symptoms vary according to the site and length of the affected vein. Patients may experience swelling, pain, fever, redness and warm skin. Severe obstruction of the vein may cause the skin in the affected area to look blue, and pulling the toes toward the knees may cause calf pain.
Improving Vein Disease
If you already have some form of vein disease in your legs, there are steps you can take to improve your condition.