Types of Peripheral Venous Disease

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Peripheral venous diseases include:

Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which blood in one or more veins of the legs does not drain properly and does not return to the heart to get oxygen resulting in blood pooling in the legs and feet. It is also caused by:

  • Abnormal blood vessels in the legs
  • Blood clot-damaged veins
  • A leg injury
  • Certain abdominal or pelvic area cancers

The most common symptom of CVI is swelling of the leg, usually around the ankle. People who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency experience many of the symptoms of varicose veins.

Thrombophlebitis is the occurrence of a blood clot and inflammation in a vein in your legs. When the blood clot is near the surface of your skin, it is called superficial thrombophlebitis. When the clot is deep within the body, it is called deep vein thrombosis.

Thrombophlebitis is caused by long periods of inactivity such as lying in bed after surgery or sitting for a long time in a car or airplane. Inactivity decreases blood flow and may cause a clot to form. Other causes may include paralysis and certain types of cancer.

The most common symptom of a problem with a vein near the surface is tenderness or pain over the affected area. A hard red cord may appear just under the surface of the skin. Sometimes, but not always, inflammation or redness of the skin may occur.

When the problem is in a vein deeper within the body, your leg may become painful and swollen, particularly when you walk or stand. Some people also have a fever. But often there are no symptoms to warn you of deep vein thrombosis.

Varicose veins are twisted, swollen blood vessels that appear near the surface of the skin. They develop from standing for long periods of time or by being overweight or pregnant. Normal aging, hormonal changes, and genetics (family history) may also contribute to varicose veins.

Varicose veins can cause tired, heavy and achy legs, but in most cases are not a medical problem. However, varicose veins may be a sign of a more serious condition—deep vein thrombosis—which requires a doctor’s attention.

If you think you may have a peripheral venous disease, contact your doctor for a thorough physical exam.