Varicose veins are swollen or enlarged blood vessels caused by
a weakening in the vein's wall or valves. They are located somewhat deeper than
spider veins, are sometimes raised, and often appear blue. Advanced cases of
varicose veins can be harmful to a patient's health because they may be
associated with the development of ulcers and phlebitis. Read More...
Spider veins are those that lie close to the surface of the skin. Known in the medical world as telangiectasias or sunburst
varicosities, these are small, thin veins formed by the dilation of the veins. Found mostly on the legs they may also be present on the face, chest, or back.
Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it and pose no health hazard, but may produce a dull aching or burning in the
legs after prolonged standing.
A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including
heredity, weight gain, pregnancy, and other events that cause hormonal shifts, or activities and occupations that require prolonged sitting or standing. Spider veins may appear in
a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central
point; they may resemble tiny branch-like shapes; or they
may appear as thin separate lines commonly seen on the inner knee, whereas the branch-like shapes often appear on
the outer thigh in a sunburst or cartwheel distribution.
Chronic Venous Insufficency
Chronic venous insufficiency is a term used to
describe the changes that can take place in the tissues of the leg, due to
longstanding high pressure in the veins. This high pressure in the veins
usually occurs because blood flow in the veins is abnormal. It may also occur
if the veins in the legs become blocked, but this is less common. In many
patients varicose veins will also be present, but this is not always the case.
There are many patients with typical changes of chronic venous insufficiency,
but no obvious problem with their superficial veins. These patients may have
abnormalities in the deeper veins which will only be apparent on special
The prolonged high pressures in varicose veins
appear to lead to low level chronic inflammation in the surrounding tissues resulting in leg ulcers.
Venous Leg Ulcers
In some patients damage to the tissues can become so bad that an area of skin
can be lost. When an area of skin is lost the raw area left behind is called an
ulcer. Ulcers can vary from being very small to very large. Some patients
become very worried when they hear they have an ulcer. Ulcers can certainly be
very troublesome, but the term ulcer only means that an area of skin has been
lost. It does not have any more serious underlying connotations. Venous leg ulcers can occur after any sort of injury or trauma to the leg. Extremely painful, venous leg ulcers can become malignant and should be diagnosed and treated early. Read More...
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder related to sensation and movement.
People with restless leg syndrome have an unpleasant feeling or sensation in
their legs when they lie down to sleep. Most people also have a very strong urge
to move their legs, and moving the legs sometimes makes them feel better. But
all this movement makes it difficult to acquire enough sleep. In some patients there is a clear cause for RLS, like not getting enough iron or preganancy. However, there usually is not a clear reason for RLS. The problem often is often hereditary. Read More...
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when a fatty material called plaque builds up on the inside walls of the arteries that carry blood from the
heart to the head, internal organs, and limbs. PAD is also known as
atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease.
The buildup of plaque on the artery walls is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis causes the
arteries to narrow or become blocked, which can reduce or block blood flow. PAD
most commonly affects blood flow to the legs. Read More...
Superficial Venous Reflux
Superficial venous reflux is a condition that develops when the valves that
usually keep blood flowing in the legs (greater sapheous vein) become damaged or diseased. This
causes blood to pool in the legs. Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux
include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, as well as varicose veins in the legs.