Venous Reflux Disease
Venous reflux disease, also known as venous insufficiency, is the underlying cause for the development of varicose veins and associated symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, heaviness, fatigue, and aching. Night-time symptoms include restless legs and leg cramps. Venous reflux occurs when the one-way valves in the leg veins no longer function properly.
Normally, the leg veins carry de-oxygenated blood back to the lungs to become oxygenated again before it circulates to the heart and rest of the body. When the one-way valves become weak and leaky, blood backs up in your leg veins. The backflow of blood is termed, ‘venous reflux.’ The backflow of blood may occur in the deep and/or superficial leg veins. Most often, venous reflux begins in the superficial leg veins called the great and small saphenous veins. The backflow problem within these veins eventually causes enlargement of surface veins. When the surface veins become swollen and twisted, they are referred to as varicose veins. Symptoms venous reflux can occur with or without visible signs of underlying venous reflux.
Symptoms tend to get worse throughout the day and with prolonged standing. The more you stand, the more gravity causes the blood to pool within the bad veins. For women, symptoms get worse with menstruation and pregnancy because hormones also affect the veins. Your legs may feel better when you elevate the legs, exercise, or use compression stockings, which all lessen the pooling of blood within the veins. Over time, venous reflux disease