Vein Conditions

29, 7, 2022

Complications of untreated vein disease

2022-06-25T18:31:11-07:00

Varicose veins and their underlying cause, vein disease can cause a wide array of symptoms, including leg pain, swelling, aching, heaviness, restless legs, and nocturnal leg cramps. 

If left untreated, superficial venous reflux disease can progress to cause skin changes and other complications. 

Complications of untreated vein disease include:

  1. Superficial Thrombophlebitis (STP) 

A thrombophlebitis is swelling and inflammation of a vein caused by a blood clot. There are two main types of thrombophlebitits: deep venous thrombosis (affects deeper, larger veins) and superficial thrombophlebitis (affects veins near the skin surface). This is often referred to as an STP.

The following symptoms are often associated with thrombophlebitis:

Inflammation (swelling) in the part of the body affected

Pain in the part of the body affected

skin redness, warm and tenderness over the vein

Often a ‘hard knot’ or lump can be felt within the vein.

An STP is common complication of varicose veins because blood is pooling and not circulating well. But, it can also indicate an underlying problem with blood clotting. In some cases, there may also be a concurrent blood clot in other veins, such as the deep veins (DVT) which can be serious. For this reason, a duplex ultrasound examination is used to look at the deep veins and other veins not visible to the naked eye for the presence of blood clots.

STP can usually be treated with aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and inflammation, compression stockings, and cold/warm packs to also reduce inflammation and discomfort. The discomfort is usually improved within 6 weeks but it can take a few months to resolve.

  1. Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)

If the blood clot is in a varicose vein near a deep vein or perforator vein, it can extend into the deep system, causing a DVT. For example, a spontaneously thrombosed great saphenous vein, can extend into the common femoral vein and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). Also, a varicose vein blood clot can extend into a perforator vein and travel to the deep system. It is important to have an ultrasound examination of superficial blood clots to determine a concurrent DVT is present, determine exact location and extent of the superficial clot to make sure it is not near a deep or perforator vein. If it is, a blood thinner may be recommended or serial ultrasounds to monitor the clot may be recommended.

  1. Spontaneous Vein Hemorrhage

Untreated varicose veins are at a higher than usual risk of bleeding or spontaneous rupture. Over time, varicose veins become larger, and the vein wall becomes weak and stretched out. These veins, which are already weak are also under high pressure (because of venous reflux, or the ‘backflow’ and pooling of blood in these veins). As a result, the high pressure can cause the veins to spontaneous burst and bleed heavily. Because they are under high pressure, they bleed like an arterial bleed and patients describe the bleeding as ‘blood shooting across the room.’ The varicose veins that are susceptible are veins closest to the surface of the skin

Most patients describe that it occurs during or after a warm shower (warm water causes veins to relax and dilate, allowing more blood to pool within the veins) or during sleep. It is painless and patients report that they notice it because they feel something wet in bed. Patients who are on blood thinners can lose large amounts of blood, especially if it occurs while they are sleeping. Some people have required blood transfusions. The small blue spider veins around the ankle are equally at risk of rupture as are the larger bulging veins.If someone you know has experienced bleeding from their varicose veins, they should be seen by a doctor. Treatment will prevent the veins from bursting again. This is a common condition that we see at La Jolla Vein Care.

  1. Venous Leg Ulcer

A leg ulceration is the most severe form of chronic venous insufficiency. This is referred to as a ‘venous leg ulcer.’ Venous leg ulcers make up 70% of all chronic leg wounds. Therefore, the venous leg ulcer is much more common than a diabetic or arterial ulcer. It is caused from long-standing pressure within the leg veins, resulting from 1) venous reflux through faulty valves, 2) a blockage within the deep veins or 3) from the inability to use the calf muscles or a combination. Venous reflux is the most common cause for a venous leg ulcer. The increased pressure within the leg veins (we call this venous hypertension) causes an inflammatory response. Inflammation then causes changes in the skin, usually around the ankles (this is where pressure is the greatest). The inflammatory process will cause the skin around the ankles to become brown or discolored, and eventually the skin will break open. The leg wound can be healed by treating the underlying vein condition. 

  1. Venous stasis and venous eczema

Venous stasis skin changes refers to darkening around the skin. It is associated with itching often, due to inflammation of the skin. It indicates long standing venous disease, called chronic venous insufficiency. Progression can lead to ulceration.

Venous leg ulcers can also be prevented by early intervention with non-invasive procedures. If you have signs of chronic venous insufficiency (such as skin discoloration around the ankles) you should address your underlying vein condition to prevent the skin from breaking open.

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

Complications of untreated vein disease2022-06-25T18:31:11-07:00

Varicose Vein Patient Transformation

2022-06-25T16:29:05-07:00

Varicose Veins: Patient Transformations 

What are varicose veins?

They are the twisted, bulging veins just beneath the surface of the skin. These veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. These veins usually occur in the legs, but they also can form in other parts of the body. Varicose veins are a common condition.

What causes them?

Varicose veins are caused by leaky vein valves, which allow blood to pool within the veins causing them to stretch and become enlarged. These veins can be an isolated finding, but the majority of the time, they are caused by underlying venous reflux disease. Venous reflux disease is also known as venous stasis, venous insufficiency or venous incompetence. Reflux may occur in the deep and/or superficial leg veins.

In our study, led by Dr. Nisha Bunke and published in the Journal of Vascular Ultrasound in 2018, we studied over 1,000 legs with varicose veins. Over 90% of the time, the source of the varicose veins were the great and small saphenous veins. The Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) courses up the middle of the thigh and calf and the small saphenous vein (SSV), which courses along the back of the calf. Normally, there are one-way valves within the leg veins, which help blood flow in one direction: toward the heart. This means blood is traveling against gravity. The calf muscle also helps move blood toward the heart. When vein valves are leaky, blood flows backward (reflux) towards the feet. Blood pools in the lower legs, causing bulging veins at the surface. 

As you can see below, these patient transformations after varicose vein treatment are remarkable! 

varicose veinsvaricose veinsvaricose veins

 

La Jolla Vein Care Before and After Transformations:

 

At La Jolla Vein Care, we are here for our patients from beginning to the end. We love seeing the transformations that take place. Below are a few cases from our patient transformations from before varicose vein treatment to after varicose vein treatment. 

 

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources. 

 

 

Varicose Vein Patient Transformation2022-06-25T16:29:05-07:00

How to know your reflux disease is worsening over time

2022-06-25T18:27:21-07:00

Venous Reflux Disease is progressive and worsens over time.

Unfortunately, venous reflux disease is progressive and worsens over time.

Venous reflux disease is also known as venous stasis, chronic venous insufficiency, or venous incompetence. Venous reflux disease refers to ‘leaky valves in the veins of the legs. Reflux may occur in the deep and/or superficial leg veins. The deep veins are those within the muscle; they bring at least 80-90% of the blood from the legs back to the heart. The superficial veins are outside of the muscle and under the skin. The main superficial veins are the Great Saphenous Vein that courses up the middle of the thigh and calf and the small saphenous vein, which courses up the back of the calf. Normally, there are one-way valves within the leg veins, which help blood flow in one direction: toward the heart. This means blood is traveling against gravity. The calf muscle also helps move blood toward the heart. When vein valves are leaky, blood flows backward (reflux) towards the feet. Blood pools in the lower legs, causing bulging veins at the surface. Symptoms include leg heaviness, leg fatigue, leg pain, ankle swelling, phlebitis (inflamed and painful veins) restless legs at night, and night cramps. Venous reflux disease is progressive and worsens over time. Skin changes may also develop, including darkening of the skin around the ankles. The darkening of the skin is sometimes referred to as

skin changes. The skin can become dry and itchy (venous eczema). Eventually, the skin can break down causing a wound, called a venous leg ulcer. See the image to better understand the 6 main stages of venous reflux disease. Stage 6 is the open leg wound, known as a venous leg ulcer.

Stage 1. Healthy Veins, Stage 2. Spider Veins

Stage 3. reticular veins and varicose veins

Stage 4. Venous Nodes – Edema venous insufficiency

Stage 5. Chronic insufficiency

Stage 6. Venous eczema and venous leg ulcer

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources on our website. 

 

How to know your reflux disease is worsening over time2022-06-25T18:27:21-07:00

Do varicose veins cause leg cramps?

2022-06-25T18:22:43-07:00

Leg cramps occurring at night (nocturnal leg cramps) are a common symptom of venous disease. In fact, in the San Diego Population Study, leg cramps were the second most common symptom in people with the venous disease with a prevalence of 14.3%. Leg aching (17.7%) was the most common complaint and tired and swollen legs were also predominant symptoms.

Healthy veins collect the deoxygenated blood from the tissues. The venous blood, which is low in oxygen and high in waste products is returned to the heart and lungs where it is replenished with oxygen and nutrients.  In diseased veins, the blood circulates poorly, allowing blood to pool and become stagnant. The exact mechanism that causes cramping in the legs is uncertain.  But, when the cramping is caused by poorly functioning veins, the symptoms are often alleviated by correcting the underlying problem.  Conservative measures, such as elevating the legs, walking regularly, and wearing compression therapy may reduce the frequency of night cramps. Treating the underlying venous insufficiency may be curative.

There are many causes for leg cramps and if you suffer from night cramps it is important to be properly evaluated to determine the cause.  Cramps that occur with exercise are more likely to be associated with a more serious condition. If your muscles cramp with walking for a short time and recover with rest this may indicate arterial disease.  Other causes for leg cramps include muscle injury, thyroid conditions, pregnancy, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration or other causes.

To help identify the cause, it may be helpful to keep a log of daily activities, or change in activities; for example, heavy exertion may indicate a muscular cause or long periods of standing or sitting may favor the venous disease.  A recent study showed that prolonged standing at work may be an important risk factor for varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps.

Check with your primary care physician to rule out other causes for leg cramps. Blood tests can check for thyroid, kidney and electrolyte conditions.  You may also have undiagnosed venous reflux.

At La Jolla Vein Care, our vascular imaging scanners help us detect vascular causes of leg pain. For example, we can utilize one of our three duplex ultrasound imaging systems to scan for blood clots in the leg veins (deep venous thrombosis), venous insufficiency and identify significant problems in the arterial circulation.

 

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

Do varicose veins cause leg cramps?2022-06-25T18:22:43-07:00

Improving your vein health through exercise

2022-06-25T18:17:03-07:00

Physical activity and exercise provides a wide range of benefits for vascular health and may help to avoid evolution of mild cases of varicose veins. In fact, exercise is considered to be a fundamental element in improving the symptomatology of patients affected by varicose veins. A sedentary person diagnosed with this medical condition has a much higher risk of worsening the symptoms when compared with an active person with the same condition. This is a result of blood pooling in the veins, causing an increase in venous hypertension and symptoms.

The main goal of exercise in regards to varicose veins is to contract and move the muscles of the leg, helping to pump the blood upwards, avoiding edema or retention of liquid in the ankles. With this in mind, the recommended exercises are those with aerobic characteristics rather than those with anaerobic ones. Through this physical activity, the pressure in the veins is improved, as well as the resulting symptomatology.

Therefore, any exercise that involves moving the lower limbs and promote cyclical muscle contractions is advisable, including stand on tiptoes, move the toes, perform foot bending and rotation, do pedaling movements, among others. These can be easily performed throughout the day without the necessity to go out and exercise, and are especially useful during work hours or while doing daily tasks at home.

When walking or running, pressure is exerted on the sole of the foot, which causes the circulation to be activated from the bottom up, while the constant contraction of the muscles during cycling causes the same effect, but without the presence of high impact, an important factor for those with joint issues.

Swimming is one of the best exercises to practice when affected by varicose veins. The double effect of the water and the movement of the lower limbs cause an incredible increase in blood circulation. This is helpful also for patients who have significant symptoms related to the effects of gravity, like standing.

Other disciplines like yoga, pilates, or rhythmic gymnastics also help stimulate circulation by mobilizing the accumulated blood in the thighs, while relaxing the whole body.

Hiking is a great activity for using the calf-muscle pump. However, in warm weather, symptoms of varicose veins worsen. To get the maximal benefit of exercise and reducing symptoms, outdoor exercising when the weather is cooler, like in the morning is advised.

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

Improving your vein health through exercise2022-06-25T18:17:03-07:00

Blood Clots and Leg Vein Ultrasounds

2022-06-25T18:13:21-07:00

Most vein disease is not visible to the naked eye, but can be detected in a leg vein ultrasound.

What Leg Vein Ultrasound Can Uncover About Your Veins: blood clots and leaky valves

We can see beneath the surface of the skin with an ultrasound. Duplex ultrasound combines Doppler flow information and conventional imaging information, sometimes called B-mode, to allow physicians to see the structure of your blood vessels. Duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to get images of your blood vessels.  It also helps determine how fast blood moves through the vessels. It can also be useful to estimate the diameter of a blood vessel as well as the amount of obstruction, if any, in the blood vessel. Using duplex ultrasound technology, the structure of your blood vessels, the valve function, the movement of your red blood cells, and the direction of blood flow through the vessels, any blockages, blood clots, and leaky valves can be seen.

Venous Reflux (leaky valves)

Ultrasounds of the leg veins that look for leaky valves (venous reflux) are usually performed in the standing position.

The Duplex Ultrasound examination allows us to visualize the blood vessels that are not visible to the naked eye, even blood vessels that are deep within the muscles.  Ultrasound looks at deep and superficial veins in the legs to check for venous reflux or venous-valvular incompetence (the underlying condition that causes varicose veins). The ultrasound examination is used to both identify the veins that have faulty valves and to map the anatomy of the veins, creating a ‘road map.’  This is necessary to make an accurate assessment of the cause and extent of the varicose veins, as well as to formulate the best treatment plan.  This should be done for any individual being evaluated for varicose veins, leg swelling, patients who have failed prior treatment, patients who are symptomatic, and in some patients with certain anatomic patterns of spider veins.

Before your test:

This study does not require any preparation. You should not wear your compression stockings the same day as the examination.  Make sure to be hydrated.

How long does it take?

An ultrasound only checking for blood clots typically takes less than 30 minutes. An ultrasound that looks at both the deep and superficial veins including mapping is less than 60 minutes, the part of this exam that checks if the valves are leaky is performed in the standing position.

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

Blood Clots and Leg Vein Ultrasounds2022-06-25T18:13:21-07:00

The Truth About Restless Leg Syndrome

2022-06-25T18:01:49-07:00

The restless leg syndrome was a reported symptom in 30% of people who suffer from varicose veins, in our study.

Those who suffer from varicose veins often report a feeling of restless leg syndrome, especially at night when in bed. In our study, about 30% of patients with varicose veins complained of nocturnal restless legs.

Restless legs refer to the specific symptoms of restlessness and urge to move the legs. This is different than Restless legs syndrome (RLS), which is a sensorimotor movement disorder characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move them.  This is a diagnosis based on a collection of nocturnal symptoms. There are many causes of restless legs syndrome such as neurological disorders, anemia, and kidney disease to name a few, and is often treated with medication. Vascular causes, such as venous insufficiency is often overlooked as a cause for Restless Legs Syndrome. We have case studies of patients who used medication to treat RLS symptoms for years without resolution of symptoms. In our study, 98% of the patients with venous insufficiency and restless legs, had resolution of symptoms following treatment.  In another study, by Hayes, CL et. al, 35 patients with RLS and superficial venous insufficiency underwent endovenous ablation of refluxing superficial veins and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy of varicose veins. 89% of patients reported alleviation of symptoms.

If a patient has restless legs symptoms and evidence of varicose veins of the legs, a work-up for venous insufficiency should be considered. The workup involves a duplex ultrasound evaluation of the leg veins. This may eliminate the need for medication for RLS in some cases.

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

The Truth About Restless Leg Syndrome2022-06-25T18:01:49-07:00

Before & After Varicose Vein Treatment

2022-06-25T16:24:50-07:00

Varicose Veins: Patient Transformations 

What are varicose veins?

They are the twisted, bulging veins just beneath the surface of the skin. These veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. These veins usually occur in the legs, but they also can form in other parts of the body. Varicose veins are a common condition.

What causes them?

Varicose veins are caused by leaky vein valves, which allow blood to pool within the veins causing them to stretch and become enlarged. These veins can be an isolated finding, but the majority of the time, they are caused by underlying venous reflux disease. Venous reflux disease is also known as venous stasis, venous insufficiency or venous incompetence. Reflux may occur in the deep and/or superficial leg veins.

In our study, led by Dr. Nisha Bunke and published in the Journal of Vascular Ultrasound in 2018, we studied over 1,000 legs with varicose veins. Over 90% of the time, the source of the varicose veins were the great and small saphenous veins. The Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) courses up the middle of the thigh and calf and the small saphenous vein (SSV), which courses along the back of the calf. Normally, there are one-way valves within the leg veins, which help blood flow in one direction: toward the heart. This means blood is traveling against gravity. The calf muscle also helps move blood toward the heart. When vein valves are leaky, blood flows backward (reflux) towards the feet. Blood pools in the lower legs, causing bulging veins at the surface. 

As you can see below, these patient transformations after varicose vein treatment are remarkable!

varicose veinvaricose veinvaricose vein

 

 

La Jolla Vein Care Before and After Transformations:

 

At La Jolla Vein Care, we are here for our patients from beginning to the end. We love seeing the transformations that take place. Below are a few cases from our patient transformations from before varicose vein treatment to after varicose vein treatment. 

 

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources. 

 

Before & After Varicose Vein Treatment2022-06-25T16:24:50-07:00

Vein Health & Your Nutrition

2022-06-25T17:32:08-07:00

One’s vein health and nutrition is very important. One contributing factor that can influence your vein health is through your diet and what foods you consume on a daily basis. There are nutrient dense foods that help contribute to your health. For vein health specifically, foods that are rich in flavonoids may improve symptoms of venous disease. Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power. It’s important to include in your daily nutrition foods that have antioxidants. 

 

In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavonoids have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.Flavonoids are also well known for their ‘venoactive’ effects on the blood vessels and have been proven to reduce symptoms of venous disease such as leg aching, heaviness and swelling.

Foods that are flavonoid rich include cocoa and chocolate, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, garlic, tea and red wine.

Besides improving your nutrition for your vein health, remind the cook to use compression socks- long hours of standing in the kitchen can cause leg fatigue, heaviness and swelling and eventually be a sign of venous disease. 

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular. 

 

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources

 

Vein Health & Your Nutrition2022-06-25T17:32:08-07:00

Before & After Spider Vein Treatment

2022-06-25T16:09:12-07:00

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are the fine, thread-like reddish veins at the surface of the skin. These veins are not healthy. Veins are often considered a cosmetic issue, but they can be associated with underlying feeder veins, not visible to the naked eye.  Feeder veins are the ‘blue veins’ also known as ‘reticular veins,’ that give rise to spider veins. Spider veins may also be a sign of underlying venous insufficiency. For example, spider veins located in the inner ankles and inner thighs can indicate an underlying problem with the saphenous vein. As a result, an ultrasound examination may be recommended to identify and effectively treat the underlying source of these veins.

What are the symptoms?

Vein conditions affect people differently. For some, these veins can be a painless cosmetic concern, and for others they may cause symptoms. The most common symptoms of spider veins are burning, throbbing, and localized pain. They can also feel hot and itchy and bleed.

What causes them?

Spider veins in the legs are caused by the same condition that causes varicose veins. Leaky vein valves allow blood to pool within the veins causing them to stretch and become enlarged. These veins on other areas of the body, such as the face, and chest can be caused by sun damage, hormone changes or liver disease. Hormones, such as with pregnancy, birth control or hormone replacement therapy can weaken the vein wall.

Below you can see the transformation of 3 of our patients who received vein treatment.

spider veinsspider veinsspider veins

If you experience any vein disease symptoms, please call our office at (858)-434-5998 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable doctors at La Jolla Vein and Vascular.

For more information on vein health please check out our Youtube Channel or visit our helpful guide of resources.

Before & After Spider Vein Treatment2022-06-25T16:09:12-07:00
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