More commonly known as venous insufficiency, venous reflux disease is a medical condition that circulation of blood in the legs. And, because it affects blood circulation, venous reflux disease can lead to a number of health complications. Some of the causes of venous reflux include a sedentary lifestyle, having a job that requires long periods of sitting or standing, family history of varicose veins and other circulation problems, being overweight, and smoking, among others. The good news about venous reflux disease sufferers don’t necessarily have to live with their condition. Vein centers and throughout the country have a number of options that can treat venous reflux disease and help to restore proper blood flow.
What is venous reflux disease?
Venous reflux disease is also referred to as venous insufficiency. It is a medical condition that affects circulation of the blood in the lower extremities. Valves in the veins are meant to keep blood flowing toward the heart against gravity. These are one-way valves that keep blood circulating optimally. However, when valves become weakened, they aren’t able to close properly. This causes blood to flow backward, which is a condition known as ‘reflux.’ Venous reflux disease can lead to a number of medical complications. It can lead to symptoms such as venous ulcers, swelling, and discoloration of the skin. One of the complications of venous reflux disease is that blood can pool in the legs. This can lead to other medical problems such as varicose veins, which are purplish, twisted veins under the skin. It can also lead to deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which can be life-threatening and even lead to death.
What are the causes of venous reflux disease?
There are a number of situations that can cause, lead to, or are linked to venous reflux disease and its associated medical complications. Some of the most significant risk factors for developing venous reflux disease include:
- Age: Veins can become weakened as we get older, which is why many older Americans suffer from venous reflux disease and the complications that can be associated with it, such as varicose veins.
- Gender: Though men can also suffer from it, women are much more likely to develop venous reflux disease. Some of the reasons include hormonal changes, hormonal imbalances, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, and pregnancy.
- Weight: Those who are overweight are at a greater risk for developing blood circulation problems, including venous reflux disease. The risk gets significantly higher for those who are obese or morbidly obese.
- Tobacco products: Using any type of tobacco products puts you at a much greater risk of developing venous reflux disease. And it’s not just the smoking of cigarettes that can be associated with this disease. Using any tobacco, including cigars, chew, and other products, can be a significant factor in developing venous reflux disease.
- Heredity: As with many medical conditions, if you have a family history of venous reflux disease, you are at a greater risk of developing it yourself.
What are the symptoms of venous reflux disease?
There is a long list of symptoms that can be associated with venous reflux disease, including but not limited to:
- Varicose veins
- Leg pain
- Swollen ankles and/or legs
- Fatigue in legs
- Burning skin
- Itchy skin
- Skin ulcers (open wounds)
- Skin discoloration
- Changes in skin texture
- Recurrent blood clots in varicose veins
- Thin skin over ankles and/or legs
- Spontaneous hemorrhaging in legs/ankles due to thin skin
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s vital that you seek medical treatment. Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, as these symptoms can lead to serious and life-threatening events. In some cases it may be necessary to see a vascular specialist in order to have standing and supine duplex ultrasound performed.
If you’re a sufferer of venous reflux disease, you know how this condition can negatively impact your lifestyle. It can cause pain and swelling that may keep you from enjoying your activities and your life as you did before. But you don’t have to just accept the consequences of venous reflux, such as varicose veins. For varicose vein treatment in New Jersey, contact a vein center for more detailed information about all of your venous reflux disease treatment options.