Venous disorders, including venous reflux disease, are progressive, meaning they get worse over time if left untreated. Venous reflux disease occurs when veins cannot circulate blood effectively. It affects the veins in the legs, causing blood to pool and other serious issues. Read on to learn more about venous reflux disease: causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments.
How to Diagnose And Treat Venous Reflux Disease
What Is Venous Reflux Disease?
Venous reflux disease (VRD), or chronic venous insufficiency, arises when veins cannot adequately return blood to the heart.
Arteries transport oxygenated blood throughout the body, whereas veins transport deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Your veins have valves that constantly open and close to assist in the return of blood to the heart and lungs for reoxygenation. Blood can flow backward if these valves don’t work correctly, leading to pooling blood in your legs. Veins can enlarge or dilate due to reflux, becoming thinner and weaker with time.
You may develop varicose veins or VRD if you have venous hypertension. Leg pain, swelling, and non-healing leg ulcers are all symptoms of these disorders, which disrupt the circulation in your legs.
What Causes Venous Reflux Disease?
VRD can be caused by any disorder that clogs the major leg veins or weakens their valves. This disorder can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Deep vein thrombosis: A type of blood clot that occurs in the deep veins of the leg or pelvis.
- Weakened vein wall: A condition causing veins to expand to the point where valves cannot seal.
- A lack of vein valves: This condition usually is congenital.
- Genetic factors: Those with a family history of VRD are more likely to develop the disorder.
- Phlebitis: Inflammation of the veins due to blood clotting or damage to the vein walls.
Other factors leading to chronic venous disease are obesity, pregnancy, high blood pressure, standing or sitting for a long time, high-impact physical activity, etc.
What Are The Symptoms of Venous Reflux Disease?
People with moderate forms of VRD may not have any symptoms. In contrast, others may experience symptoms such as blood pooling in the legs or an increase in vein pressure. Patients with more severe conditions may have varying degrees of pain in their legs, feet, and ankles. Common symptoms of VRD that affect certain bodily parts include:
- Painful, throbbing, burning, or heavy feeling in legs, feet, or ankles
- Muscle cramps
- Swelling that starts in the feet and ankles and progresses upward.
- Itchiness in legs, feet, or ankles
- Open wounds
- Varicose veins and swollen, discolored, distended, or twisted veins beneath the skin’s surface
- Dry, rough, and scaly skin
- Thickened skin on legs
- Skin discoloration
How to Diagnose Venous Reflux Disease
A doctor can diagnose VRD by examining the leg or other body parts. They may utilize a Doppler ultrasound device to measure blood flow in the leg. A venous duplex ultrasound test might be performed to corroborate the findings or increase the accuracy of the evaluation. An ultrasound is used to create an image of the vein, which aids in the detection of any obstructions or valve failure. Additional imaging tests like CAT scans or MRIs may be required to rule out other possible explanations of current symptoms.
How Can Venous Reflux Disease Be Treated?
Compression stockings are one of the most effective approaches to controlling VRD. Compression stockings are tightest at the feet and ankles, then loosen as they progress up the leg, and they help tighten the legs’ arteries to increase vein pressure and support blood flow.
Compression stockings are available in various sizes, so choosing the type that fits nicely and doesn’t put too much strain on your legs is critical. Determine your optimal size by measuring the diameter of the calf, ankles, and thighs. Depending on a person’s shape and severity of their disease, a pharmacist can assist in selecting the ideal pair of socks.
Lifestyle changes can also help control VRD:
- Choosing a nutritious, well-balanced diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding prolonged sitting or standing
- Exercises to help enhance function and strength of calf and leg muscle
If you notice and experience any symptoms of venous reflux, consult your doctor, and they can manage the disease using a variety of strategies.
If you have questions about venous reflux disease or any conditions discussed here, we can help.
Vascular & Interventional Specialists offers screening, diagnosis, and treatment for a wide range of vascular conditions. We specialize in vascular surgery and interventional radiology – world class procedures right here in your world.
If you’re having trouble with any of these symptoms, you can reach us at (605) 540-1561. We’re here to help.