Vein Health 101

March 14, 2017

Vein Disorder TreatmentYou may not think much about your veins – until one of those bulging varicose veins suddenly appears on your lower leg. While it may seem like that vein came out of nowhere, there was an entire process that went on inside your veins to contribute to its development. To understand varicose veins, it is helpful to know how the veins function and what can go wrong inside of them to make those swollen vessels form. Check out these basics on vein health from the team at the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin.

What are Veins?

Veins are the vessels that move blood back to the heart. The arteries take the blood to all of the tissue and organs of the body, providing essential oxygen and nutrients the body needs to function. The veins then return deoxygenated blood back to the heart so the process can start all over again.

Unlike the arteries, the veins don’t have help from the pumping heart to get blood where it needs to go. Instead, they contain small valves that move the blood in a single direction. Muscle contractions throughout the body also help blood to continue pumping through the veins efficiently.

Types of Veins

Since our primary goal is to understand varicose veins, we will focus on the veins in the leg. There are three basic types of leg veins:

Deep veins are found near the center of the leg and are typically the largest type of veins. These veins carry blood from the smaller veins directly back to the heart. These are also the veins that are most vulnerable to blood clot formation, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Superficial veins are those found closer to the skin’s surface. These veins are responsible for bringing blood from the outer skin and tissue to the main veins in the center of the leg. They are also the veins that are most likely to become visible as spider or varicose veins.

Perforator veins connect deep veins and superficial veins.

Vein disorders of the superficial veins are typically the ones that lead to the development of spider and varicose veins. Fortunately, there are many superficial veins in the body, which means if one becomes damaged, blood can be redirected to healthy veins nearby.

When Things Go Wrong

Varicose veins are frequently caused by an underlying vein disorder known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. This condition occurs when those small valves inside the vessel become damaged or wear out over time. The damage is more common in the lower leg veins because these vessels have to work much harder to move blood all the way up the leg to the heart. The valves in these veins are more likely to wear out because of all the pressure that is placed on them over a lifetime.

There are steps you can take to protect those hard-working lower leg veins and lower your risk for CVI and varicose veins. Maintaining a healthy weight avoids excessive stress on the veins, while regular exercise gives flexing calf muscles the opportunity to support the veins. It is also a good idea to avoid prolonged periods of sitting and standing, since this also places excessive strain on the vein.

Treating Vein Disorders

If CVI and varicose veins do appear, there are minimally-invasive treatment options to address the conditions. These treatments primarily focus on eliminating damaged veins so blood naturally redirects to healthy veins in the vicinity. Dr. Jimenez and the staff at the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin have numerous options in vein treatments that allow them to tailor your procedure to your precise needs.

Don’t suffer with CVI and varicose veins. To find out which treatment is right for you, contact the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346.

What You Need to Know about DVT

January 11, 2016

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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially serious condition that is sometimes associated with varicose veins. While DVT can go undetected for some time, possible complications from the condition can become life-threatening if DVT is left unchecked. The staff at Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin wants to educate their patients about DVT to help prevent serious complications from occurring.

What is DVT?

DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually the leg. The clot may not cause any symptoms or problems as long as it remains in its original location. However, these clots sometimes break free from their initial location and travel through the bloodstream. If they reach the lungs, it can lead to a complication known as a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms block blood flow to the lungs. If immediate medical treatment is not provided pulmonary embolisms can result in death.

Who Gets DVT?

It is difficult to predict who will develop DVT. However, there are a few factors that can increase your risk for this condition:

  • A history of blood clots or blood clotting disorders
  • Prolonged bed rest due to illness, injury or surgery
  • Long days of travel by plane or car
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Some medical conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking some types of hormones

Symptoms of DVT

Many people with DVT do not know they have the condition because no noticeable symptoms are present. When symptoms do appear, they often include leg pain or swelling. If a pulmonary embolism occurs, symptoms often will become more noticeable and may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy, fainting
  • Accelerated pulse
  • Coughing up blood

These symptoms indicate a life-threatening situation is occurring and emergency medical attention is required.

Benefits of Imaging

Doctors that specialize in the treatment of varicose veins typically offer vein screenings to determine whether any underlying medical vein conditions exist. Screening tests are non-invasive and commonly utilize ultrasound technology to visualize blood flow through the vessels and scan for any possible problems. These tests can detect DVT as well as a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. This condition is characterized by damage or weakening of the vessels and is a common cause of varicose veins.

Treatment Options

Treatment of DVT most commonly involves the use of blood thinning medications. Sometimes, more invasive procedures involving vascular catheters with “clot dissolving” medicines, inferior vena cava filters, or surgeries may be recommended.

Vein screenings help us determine why varicose veins formed and if other medical conditions exist that require treatment. The information collected from these tests also allows us to customize vein treatment to the precise needs of each patient. Once the screening is complete, treatment options for varicose veins might include injectable procedures or treatments using lasers to eliminate unsightly varicose veins without surgery.

Vein treatments today involve little discomfort and almost no downtime afterward. If you would like to learn more about how to eliminate your varicose veins and their potential complications, contact Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346.