Venous disease is any disease that affects your veins. Veins play an important role in circulating your blood through your body. They carry blood back to your heart. But when something weakens or damages a vein, it doesn’t work the way it should. Various treatments can help, and there are things you can do to help yourself.
Venous disease is any condition that affects the veins in your body. Veins are flexible, hollow tubes that are part of the circulatory system that moves blood through your body. Veins bring oxygen-poor blood back to your heart, which pumps your blood. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart.
Veins have flaps (valves) inside that open when your muscles contract. This allows blood to move through your veins. When your muscles relax, the valves close, keeping blood flowing in one direction.
If venous disease damages the valves inside your veins, the valves may not close completely. This lets blood leak backward or flow in both directions.
Venous diseases include:
Venous disease affects more than 30 million people in the United States. Researchers predict even more people will have it in the future. With people living longer and weighing more, they’re more likely to get venous disease.
About 1 million cases of venous thromboembolism happened in 2010 in the U.S. By 2050, that number may reach 1.8 million.
Roughly 33% of adults have varicose veins.
About 1% of adults have venous leg ulcers.
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Venous disease symptoms include these issues in your legs or arms:
Venous disease causes include:
Risk factors for venous disease include:
Certain venous diseases can lead to other issues.
A healthcare provider will review your medical history, including your family’s medical history. They’ll also do a physical exam and order any tests you may need.
Tests to diagnose venous disease include:
Venous disease treatments include:
Several nonsurgical and surgical treatment options are available for each type of venous disease. The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Your healthcare provider will recommend the treatment option that’s right for you.
Before choosing any treatment, it’s important to discuss the potential benefits, risks and side effects with your provider. You’ll receive specific guidelines to help you prepare for your procedure, as well as specific instructions to help your recovery.
Medicines and procedures vary, depending on the type of venous disease. Venous disease treatment may include:
Side effects of treatment depend on the type of treatment you have. Your healthcare provider can explain which treatments make sense for the venous disease you have.
Your healthcare provider may be able to give you an estimate of how quickly you’ll feel better. Everyone is different, and various methods provide relief at different speeds.
You can lower your risk of disease by improving the health of your veins and the rest of your cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) system by:
Without treatment, venous disease can get worse and impact your quality of life. Receiving treatment will improve these things. While superficial thrombophlebitis goes away in a few weeks, it can take more time to recover from other venous diseases. Some people have chronic venous disease. This means they deal with it long-term.
You may need frequent appointments with your provider to make sure you’re managing the venous disease. They may want to redo ultrasounds or retake other tests to compare with earlier test results.
Venous diseases like varicose and spider veins can come back after treatment. Venous ulcers can also happen again.
Whether you’re sitting or standing, walk around every hour. This encourages good blood flow through your body. Avoiding tobacco products is another way to take care of your blood vessels. Ask your healthcare provider for information about programs or products that can help you with this.
Go to all of your scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider. Contact your provider if you experience changes in your usual symptoms or if they get worse.
Get immediate help if you’re bleeding too much while taking blood thinners. Also, call 911 or your local emergency number if you have symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, such as:
Questions to ask your provider include:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people have venous diseases, so you’re not alone. Talk with your provider about your condition and how you can manage it with their help. Learning as much as you can about your specific disease will help you make informed choices about your treatment and how to care for yourself.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/03/2023.
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