Veins pump blood to your heart. Your leg veins contain valves that help to keep blood flowing upward, against gravity. If these valves become weak or damaged, blood can flow back down into your legs and pool in your veins. Venous disease is a general term for some of the common conditions that occur when blood pools in your leg veins, causing pain and other complications. Venous disease affects about 15 percent of the adult population and results in symptoms that range from mild to severe.
Common venous disease conditions include:
- Chronic venous insufficiency (severe swelling, sores and other skin changes that occur on your legs when blood has been pooled in the veins over a long period of time)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein)
- Leg swelling and leg pain
- Venous stasis ulcers (painful sores near the ankles)
- Phlebitis (inflammation of the vein)
- Spider veins (clusters of small veins that appear red, purple or blue)
- Varicose veins (swollen veins, close to the skin, that sometimes look like cords)
When you are in an upright position, the blood in your veins has to travel upwards, against gravity. Veins carry blood through a series of valves that open to push blood up toward the heart. When these valves become impaired or weakened, blood flows downward and pools in your veins, resulting in a variety of symptoms.
Risk factors that contribute to venous disease include:
- Family history of venous disease
- History of blood clots
- Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
Why choose Ohio State for venous disease treatment?
Since The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is an academic medical center, our patients benefit from innovative research, a depth of medical expertise and the newest technologies and treatment techniques available.
Your physician will conduct a history and physical, which includes questions about your health and an evaluation of your symptoms. You may also undergo diagnostic tests.
The following tests can be used to diagnose venous disease:
- CT scan (computed tomography scan, also called CAT scan) – An imaging procedure that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional, detailed images of the body, including bones, muscles, fat and organs
- Duplex ultrasound – A painless, noninvasive test that shows how blood is moving through your arteries and veins. It examines the structure of your blood vessels and indicates if there are any blockages within your arteries.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – A noninvasive, sophisticated imaging procedure that uses large magnets and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures inside the body
Treatment of venous disease depends on the type and severity of your condition. Your physician will discuss which treatment option is best for you — medication, non-surgical procedure or surgery. The goal of venous disease treatment is to destroy or remove damaged veins so that blood will find a new route to the heart using healthy veins.