Venous disease can range from cosmetic issues to potentially life-threatening conditions. Varicose and spider veins are some of the most common symptoms of venous disease. At one time, these and other vein conditions were treated mainly using surgery. However, there are now many minimally-invasive vein treatments to help your legs look and feel better. Keep an eye out for these causes and risk factors of venous disease.
Causes of venous disease
Each type of vein disease has its own cause, although some have similar causes. These include:
- Weak or damaged valves in the veins. Valves in the veins act like a one-way flap to keep blood from flowing backwards. When the valves don’t work properly, blood collects in the vein, which increases pressure in the vein and causes other symptoms. Weak walls of the vein can also cause the valves to not work properly. This occurs in varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.
- Pooling of blood in the veins. Blood also pools in spider veins, although these are caused by exposure to sunlight, hormone changes and injuries.
- Blood clot. If you cut yourself, your blood will clot in order to help stop the bleeding. Blood clots can also occur in the veins. When this happens, it can slow the flow of blood, as with superficial thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If a blood clot in a deep vein breaks free, it can flow to the lungs and block an artery. This is called a pulmonary embolism and is a life-threatening condition.
Risk factors for venous disease
Several factors increase your risk of developing varicose or spider veins, such as:
- Increasing age
- If you have had other vein diseases in the past
- If one or more members of your family have similar vein problems
- Hormone changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty and menopause
- Being overweight or obese
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Exposure to the sun
Risk factors for superficial thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis, both of which involve clotting, include:
- Sitting or lying for long periods, such as during bed rest or while traveling
- A personal or family history of blood clots
- Injury or surgery in the pelvis or legs
- Having another condition that causes your blood to be thicker or clot more quickly, such as certain types of cancer or autoimmune diseases
- Smoking cigarettes
- Taking estrogen or using birth control pills, especially if you smoke
- Old age
If you feel these risk factors and causes of vein disease could be affecting your veins, don’t hesitate to contact Premier Vein Specialists for a FREE Screening!