Vein Disease Is Not Always Visible to the Naked Eye
Varicose veins, a result of a medical condition called venous reflux, or venous insufficiency, are abnormally enlarged, bulging veins that are visible on the surface of the skin. Often considered a cosmetic nuisance, they are actually just one sign of a more significant underlying problem in the venous system.
Venous insufficiency is a medical condition in which the blood flow is impaired in the veins. The heart’s function is to pump blood, with its oxygen and nutrients, to your organs and tissues. All blood eventually returns to the heart, in order to be re-circulated. The blood in your lower extremities has an “uphill battle” in that it must work against gravity to return to the heart in order to be re-circulated, using a combination of muscle contractions and one-way valves in the veins to do so. Varicose Veins develop when the valves in a vein become weak or damaged and don’t close properly. An impaired valve can allow blood to be pulled backwards by gravity and pool in the leg, often resulting in bulging varicose veins.
While bulging varicose veins are unsightly, the symptoms of venous insufficiency are:
- Pain/Aching/Throbbing of Legs
- Heaviness or Leg Fatigue
- Swelling of Feet/Ankles
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Night Cramps
- Itchy Veins
Patients suffering with vein disease may experience symptoms of venous insufficiency without the enlarged, swollen veins showing on the skin’s surface. Vein disease may be present even if there aren’t any varicose or spiders veins on the bulging on the skin.
Venous insufficiency is diagnosed via an in-office Doppler ultrasound test performed in the standing position, which is billed to your insurance. Most insurance companies cover varicose vein treatment if a patient is experiencing symptoms like those described above and when venous insufficiency is noted on the ultrasound. Please call the office at (505) 848-VEIN (8346) if you suffer with any of the visible or non-visible symptoms of vein disease.