Signs You Should Get Treated for Vein Problems
By Nasser Chaudhry, MD, Cardiologist, Virtua Cardiology
Are you embarrassed to wear shorts in the summertime? Do your legs hurt, especially at the end of the day, or are they consistently swollen?
Vascular problems are not just a cosmetic concern, or a part of aging. The discomfort you feel could be a sign of a more serious condition that requires treatment.
Your veins are the highways that take blood used by your organs back to the lungs for oxygen and then to the heart to be recirculated. A roadblock can cause backups that result in leg pain, discoloration, and other progressive symptoms. Fortunately, we have many treatments that can help.
An Inside Look
Our veins contain one-way valves that ensure blood flows in one direction, toward the heart. When the valves are weakened or no longer work correctly, blood can flow backward and pool in your lower legs and ankles. This is called venous insufficiency.
The pooled blood causes swelling and increased pressure in the veins. Over time, this can lead to leg pain and cramping, skin discoloration and changed texture, bulging veins, and wounds that won’t heal.
Another cause of leg pain is a blood clot. A clot in a vein near the skin surface, called superficial thrombophlebitis, can produce redness, tenderness, and swelling. A clot that forms in a deeper vein is deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
DVT can cause leg pain and swelling, or may produce no symptoms at all. But DVT is serious. If the clot breaks loose and travels through your bloodstream to the lungs, it may lead to a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
Time to See a Specialist
See a vascular specialist if you have:
- Swelling, pain, or cramping in your legs or ankles
- Skin discoloration
- Dryness, roughness, or other texture changes in your skin
- Varicose or spider veins
- Skin ulcers or wounds that won’t heal
- Restless legs, especially at night
- Leg fatigue and heaviness
- Tingling or numbness in your legs (neuropathy)
- Itching, burning, or tenderness in your legs
Diagnosis and Treatment
Most vein issues are diagnosed with non- or minimally invasive techniques, such as ultrasound or MRI.
Vein treatments depend on your condition. Varicose veins may be treated by wearing compression stockings, or with laser or radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, or microphlebectomy.
Clots may need blood thinners, a clot-busting drug, or a venous filter to protect your lungs and heart. Sometimes we may need to perform surgery, such as a bypass or ligation. That’s why you need an experienced team that can do it all and get you back to enjoying life.
Your Vein and Vascular Specialists
Virtua’s vein and vascular specialists perform the most advanced procedures to treat varicose and spider veins, peripheral artery disease, DVT, pulmonary embolism, and more. Call 888-847-8823 to make an appointment.
Updated April 29, 2021