Updated: Oct 5
The function of the heart is to supply fresh blood to every part of the body through the circulatory system. The blood circulation system consists of hollow tubes called arteries and veins. Arteries carry fresh oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. Veins, on the other hand, are responsible for taking back old oxygen-poor blood from all parts of the body to the heart.
Any damage to the veins will cause blood to flow in a backward direction or both directions and can also cause blood clots. This will put unusual pressure on the veins and they may twist, stretch, swell, and become incompetent. All this will lead to various disorders which are called venous diseases.
Common Venous Diseases
Some common venous diseases are:
Varicose Veins (Varicose)
Varicose veins are a common venous disease and are mostly diagnosed in women. In varicose veins, the veins become twisted and enlarged and may cause discomfort to the patient. Usually, varicose veins are caused by backward blood flow in veins or stagnant blood in the veins.
Causes and Treatment: Though varicose veins do not cause any health risks, they might be unpleasant or uncomfortable for many. Doctors normally prescribe compression stockings for varicose veins to prevent deterioration.
Veins of Spiders
Spider veins are a red cluster of veins visible through the skin. It looks like a tree branch or spider web, hence called "spider veins." Spider veins are thinner than varicose veins and do not make your skin bulge out like varicose veins.
Causes and Treatment: Fluctuations in hormone levels, trauma, obesity, and heredity are some of the common causes of spider veins. People over 30 years of age and pregnant women may experience spider veins, and the symptoms may increase with time. Compression stockings for spider veins are a common treatment plan to reduce spider veins.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is an extreme inflammation of the veins and is usually found in the legs. It is caused by a blood clot in the veins, and when the vein is near the skin, it is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis. The symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis are normally a red, tender, and engorged vein with localized swelling and pain.
Causes and Treatment: The causes of superficial thrombophlebitis include trauma, surgery, or prolonged inactivity (bedridden). Superficial thrombophlebitis is treated with blood thinning medication and, if not treated, superficial thrombophlebitis may lead to more serious health problems.
Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is a more serious disease. It occurs in thicker veins that are deep in the skin, and that is why it is not diagnosed at an early stage. Some symptoms of deep-vein thrombophlebitis are generalised swelling, pain, bluish skin, and rarely fever and chills.
Causes and Treatment: Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is caused by a blood clot in the veins because of trauma or surgery that needs you to be bedridden for some time. Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is also treated with blood thinning medication and, if not treated timely, the clot may travel to your lungs and cause more serious health problems.
Is Venous Disease Preventable?
The good news is that venous diseases are preventable by following some healthy lifestyle tips.
Avoid sitting in the same position for long hours. If your work requires you to sit for long hours or you are travelling on long flights, take some time to walk and relax your muscles.
Obesity is also a common cause of venous diseases. So, watch your weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes and using tobacco.
If you have had major heart surgery, heparin and warfarin are prescribed to prevent venous diseases. Doctors also advise getting up and walking as soon as possible after these major surgeries.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Venous diseases are generally diagnosed by examination and taking medical history. However, in some cases, x-rays are also conducted by injecting a contrast medium into the veins to monitor the blood flow.
The treatment depends on your venous disease. Compression stockings for spider veins are commonly prescribed by doctors to decrease the symptoms. Similarly, compression stocking for varicose veins are also used to decrease the symptoms. For superficial and deep-vein thrombophlebitis, blood-thinning medication is prescribed.
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