To understand what can go wrong with your veins when you develop vein disease, you really need to know a little about how your veins work when they’re healthy. Unlike your arteries, your veins don’t have any internal muscles with which to pump blood. Veins rely on the contraction of muscles in the tissue surrounding them to provide the “pumping” action that enables them to route deoxygenated blood and waste materials back to the heart and lungs for renewal. What enables your veins to keep blood flowing in the right direction are a series of tiny, one-way valves that open when surrounding muscles compress the veins and then close again immediately afterwards.
What can prevent your veins from functioning properly?
Two types of medical conditions can interfere with this healthy opening and closing of your venous veins. The first is insufficiency, in which the valves become damaged by injury or disease and become “leaky” and fail to close, allowing blood to flow back into the veins and pool there.
The second condition that can adversely affect your veins is thrombosis, in which blood clots (thrombi) form on the inner walls of the veins. These blood clots narrow the veins and restrict blood flow, thus impairing your overall circulation. But thrombosis can result in a far more dangerous condition if the blood clots break loose from where they formed and travel through the veins to other locations, where they can cause serious and even fatal damage.
Insufficiency is the most common type of vein disease
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) causes your veins to become swollen and discolored as they take on the color of deoxygenated blood. CVI is the most common cause of varicose veins, which impair your circulatory system and can result in symptoms such as painfully swollen legs and ankles, changes in skin color and texture, and the formation of bleeding sores that refuse to heal.
Thrombosis is less common, but it’s much, much more dangerous
The most common form of the second type of vein disease is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so named because the clots most often form in the large, deep veins of your legs. Because of the depth of these veins, surface symptoms of the clots do not always appear, so most people who have DVT don’t know that they have it until they consult with a Louisiana vein doctor. This is very dangerous, because if the blood clots travel to your brain they can cause a stroke, and if they travel to your lungs they can cause a pulmonary embolism. These two conditions kill over 300,000 Americans every year, most of whom never knew they had a dangerous vein disease.
How do I know for sure if I have (or am at risk for) CVI or DVT?
The most effective way to be sure is to pick up your telephone and dial to schedule an appointment with one of the best vein doctors in Louisiana at La Bella Vita Laser and Vein Clinic. Dr. Randall S. Juleff and his associates at their vein clinic in New Orleans will schedule a venous health screening to determine the exact state of your vein health. These screenings take only about an hour, but they can detect signs of CVI, DVT, and other dangerous vein diseases before they have had time to damage your overall health. So even though both types of vein disease are serious, don’t waste your time worrying about them. Instead, give us a call and get proactive about your vein health, so you won’t have to worry.