As your heart beats it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels known as the circulatory system. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart. Veins return oxygen-poor blood back to the heart.
Your legs are made up of a network of veins. Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart.
Venous reflux disease develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased and sometimes blocked. This can cause blood to pool in your legs and lead to symptoms such as leg pain, cramping, swelling, leg heaviness, fatigue, skin changes and skin ulcers, and varicose veins. Some of these are disabling and change your lifestyle.
While more commonly seen with women, men are also affected. It is more common as people age, and often in professions that require long-term standing like teachers, bank tellers, bartenders etc. It can run in families as a genetically transmittable. If you struggle with weight, diabetes or heart disease you are at a higher risk of vein disease.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is diagnosed in over 3 million people each year. PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. In other words, your legs (most commonly affected) are not getting enough blood flow and thereby compromising the structures in leg and lead to disabling symptoms.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) occurs when there is a buildup of fatty material inside the vessels called atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. Most people think of this when it presents in the arteries of your heart, which is known as coronary heart disease. However, PVD can affect any blood vessels in your body.
Symptoms include leg pain, cramping cold feet, bluish discoloration, reduced walking caused by pain, back pain, leg ulcers, and if severe can lead to gangrene, osteomyelitis and amputations. More than 80% of amputations are preventable if diagnosed and treated early. With the advancement of the technology and innovation, early diagnosis and treatment is possible in this day and age.
Early screening with ultrasound will enable a diagnosis of the disease and early treatment can be provided.
Factors that Lead to PAD
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Advanced age
- History of coronary artery disease
Often Silent, Potentially Deadly
Arteries supply oxygenated blood to organs and tissues. Most issues with PAD occur in your legs. These arteries become blocked by atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of cholesterol-filled plaque. Atherosclerosis is the same type of cholesterol that causes strokes and heart attacks.
When blood flow is limited in your extremities it can cause problems such as leg pain, kidney failure. The most serious complication with peripheral arterial disease is amputation and limb loss.
The problem with PAD is that it is often silent. If you fall into one of the risk factors listed below or are suffering with leg pain, it is a good idea to see a professional. Call Dr. Reddy at Ocala Vein Center for a simple screening and evaluation and early treatment. We specialize in treating arterial disease and use state of the art technology to diagnose arterial disease.
Who Does It Affect?
PVD occurs mostly in people over 60. There are about 8.5 million people diagnosed with PVD. Men are at a slightly higher risk than women. It is more common with smokers and those with diabetes. The combination of diabetes and smoking always results in more severe cases.
The danger is that many mistake PVD as normal aging and that nothing can be done to alleviate symptoms. 40% of those affected don’t have symptoms. Treatment is available for PVD and may include lifestyle changes, medication and in some cases, percutaneous revascularization and very advanced techniques.
Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins malfunction, become enlarged, making it difficult for the blood to return to the heart, causing the blood to pool in the lower legs leading to edema. If left untreated, this can lead to lymphedema, disabling ulcerations in the extremities with recurrent infections, peripheral neuropathy and disabling fatigue shortness of breath and change in the lifestyle.
- Swelling or puffiness of the tissue under your skin
- Legs feel heavy
- Varicose veins
- Stretched or shiny skin
- Skin that pits or has a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
- Increased abdomen
- Leg wounds
- Leg discoloration
- Leg cramps
See Your Doctor
Venous insufficiency is not something you have to live with. There are many treatment options available.
However, if left untreated, it can be a symptom of something much more serious that needs intervention. Edema can be a warning sign of vascular issues, heart or liver problems requiring medical treatment.
Call Ocala Vein Center if you have leg edema and Dr. Reddy will perform a thorough examination to diagnose your symptoms and help you get the help you need.
A leg ulcer is an open sore or lesion that is slow to heal or keeps recurring. It is a result of skin tissue breakdown and may be painful. There are three types of leg ulcers:
- Venous Stasis
- Diabetic (Neuropathy)
Venous stasis is the most common form of leg ulcer and is most often found at the ankles. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these account for 80-90% of ulcers affecting the lower legs.
Ulcers can be caused by both arterial and venous disease. Chronic venous insufficiency can lead to lower extremity ulcers.
As a patient, you will be evaluated and treatment to improve the blood flow in your legs will be planned and discussed. This may include possible medications, compression, vein ablations and/or deep vein intervention.
Bottom line, if you have a leg ulcer, or slow healing wound don’t ignore it. Untreated ulcers can have an effect on your overall health, can become infected and sink deeper into your system, causing serious bone infections and deterioration.
May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS) occurs in about 20% of the population and is often diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. Women are affected more with this condition than men. Manifestation is usually on the left side but bilateral venous compression is seen as well.
The problem occurs in your pelvis when the iliac artery compresses the iliac vein. The vein that is compressed becomes fibrotic and resists the lumen cross-sectional area of the vein cutting the blood flow. When this occurs, blood can’t flow as freely through the iliac vein. Think of stepping on a hose and restricting water flow. A slow flow of blood increases your risk of developing a DVT as well as damage to veins in the leg causing all the symptoms of venous disease including back pain, leg pain swelling and uncomfortable tired legs.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a vein that occurs deep in the body. DVT’s occur most often in your lower leg or thigh. This condition puts you at risk for damage to veins, organs as well as other life threatening problems.
Not everyone who has a DVT has serious issues, but having them treated is important. However, the majority of patients with DVT have one or more risk factors leading up to it. It can occur if you are sedentary for long periods of time, for example, sitting at a desk, travelling or being hospitalized, or if you are overweight. Some patients will have obstruction of the iliac veins like May Turner syndrome.
A deep vein clot can break loose and cause serious problems such as a pulmonary embolism (PE). Approximately 1 in 10 people with deep vein thrombosis will have PE.
When a clot remains in your arm or leg for an extended period of time it can damage the vein or its valves. Valves that don’t work properly let blood flow backwards, causing it to pool instead of pushing it towards your heart.
Ocala Vein Center specializes in treatment of DVTs including the diagnosis and the root cause of the DVT. Dr. Reddy has state of the art equipment including intravascular ultrasound evaluations and uses the latest treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
Are you tired of hiding your unsightly spider veins under layers of clothing? Or are you embarrassed about the veins on your face? Well, fear not – help is here.
Spider veins are those small, colored veins located close to the surface of your skin. They are typically located on your legs and thighs, as well as on your face and neck.
Most people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, but when located on the legs, spider veins can also cause aching, heaviness, itching, and night cramps. Certain factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity, age, pregnancy, hormonal factors, weight gain, prolonged sitting or standing, and trauma to the area.
Sometimes spider veins can be treated cosmetically, but sometimes they are a sign of a deeper problem called Superficial Venous Insufficiency, the same problem that leads to varicose veins. In that case, a thorough diagnostic workup will be recommended.