Many patients diagnosed with venous disease didn’t realize that they were suffering from it until they learned about the most common symptoms. Venous disease develops gradually and often affects people as they get older, and so it’s possible to attribute some of the symptoms to the normal course of aging. However, recognizing symptoms of venous disease for what they are is important. Undiagnosed, the disease can worsen over time and create complications down the road. In this article, I want to educate you about the most common symptoms of venous disease and explain how simple it is to get them checked out.
If you google “symptoms of venous disease,” you’ll come across descriptions ranging from the general (pain in the legs) to the very specific (ulcerations that won’t heal). Here is a quick rundown of the most common symptoms and descriptions that clarifies what to look for:
Pain: Discomfort, aching or pain in the legs that may be present while walking and/or at rest. These feelings may be especially acute after a long day of being on your feet or sitting down. Many patients describe feeling that the legs are “heavy” or “full.” You may also experience frequent cramps, spasms, or “restlessness” in the legs.
Swelling: Patients may have visibly swollen ankles or calves that also feel tight and uncomfortable.
Itchiness: Leg skin may appear dry or flaky and feel itchy. A red rash may be present as well.
Skin Discoloration: There may be small or large patches of darker skin around the ankles or calves. In some cases, the skin also feels thicker.
Varicose Veins: These veins bulge from the skin and have a twisted, ropey appearance. They appear especially on the calves. Sometimes varicose veins are merely aesthetic, but they often indicate the presence of venous disease. Many patients feel self conscious about how they look.
Spider Veins: Small or sprawling networks of tiny red and blue veins. May or may not accompany varicose veins. Like varicose veins, patients often want to eliminate spider veins to improve their appearance.
So, when can you ignore these symptoms and when should you get them checked out? As a doctor specializing in assessing and treating venous disease, I recommend that anyone suffering chronically from one or more of the above symptoms should consult with a vein expert. Without more information, there’s no way to figure out whether there’s a bigger issue.
It’s important to determine the cause of your symptoms for two reasons. First, we don’t want undiagnosed venous disease to get worse and cause more serious problems later on. Secondly, we want patients to experience the highest possible quality of life every day. Venous disease is easily resolved and there’s no reason to suffer from chronic pain or lose mobility when treatment is available and often covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
At Artemis Vein & Aesthetic Center, assessing whether a patient has venous disease is simple. All you have to do is schedule a free vein assessment with us. We use ultrasound technology to observe blood flow in the legs and determine if there are compromised veins. Sometimes the patient simply gains peace of mind that there’s no underlying issue. Or, they may learn that venous disease isn’t the problem and that they need to explore other possible causes for their symptoms with their personal physician. More often than not, however, we discover that a patient has venous disease.
While a diagnosis can first feel disheartening, the good news is that we can then discuss treatment options. Patients often submit to chronic pain because they fear that the cure will be worse than the disease. In the case of venous disease, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Now, older methods of treating vein issues were nothing to look forward to. You might have heard horror stories of “vein stripping” (even the sound of that makes me cringe), but those days are long, long gone.
Today, we use advanced laser technology in a minimally invasive and essentially painless procedure called laser ablation. The treatment area is numbed with a local anesthetic, ensuring that the patient remains comfortable throughout the procedure. Treatment takes place right in our clinic and patients are back on their feet the same day. We are known for our excellent medical and office team who will be with you every step of the way.
We are always delighted when we hear back from patients about how much better they feel after they’ve healed fully from the procedure. Many are relieved that their chronic symptoms are eliminated, while others regain aesthetic confidence after their varicose or spider veins disappear. Patient satisfaction is our number one priority and inspires us to maintain our superior level of practice and care.
If you’ve recognized your own symptoms while reading this article, or aren’t sure, I hope that you’ll schedule a free vein assessment and get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about your health. I also hope that I’ve eased any concerns about what happens if you are diagnosed with venous disease. We’re fortunate to live in a time when these advanced technologies and medical procedures are available. Living free of the symptoms of venous disease is just a matter of taking that first step. Please reach out to my team at any time.