What Is Vein Disease or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)?

Vein disease is a common and underdiagnosed problem with the potential for serious, or even fatal, complications. Book an appointment with California vein doctors today if you suspect you have vein disease. The most prevalent vein disease is called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). This condition results from weak or malfunctioning valves inside the veins. Arteries pump blood throughout the body to deliver nutrients and oxygen. Leg veins pump deoxygenated blood back to the heart to repeat the cycle. Since leg veins pump blood against gravity, they rely on interior valves to close once blood flows through them. This keeps blood moving in a singular direction.

When valves fail to create a tight seal, blood leaks backward through the vein. This is called venous reflux, and it causes pressure to build in the vein. Left untreated, patients can develop CVI. As blood accumulates beneath the valve, the vein begins to swell and twist. This creates a varicose vein. The engorged vein might also sprout new, tiny branches to offset pressure. These are spider veins. Most people notice when visible symptoms of vein disease appear, including spider and varicose veins. What they can’t see from the surface is the damage developing beneath the skin. This can include a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. There are also several symptoms of vein disease that people might not attribute to their blood vessels. Learn more below.

Vein disease is a serious condition that should not be ignored. Risks include deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Vein Disease?

Many people don’t realize how many symptoms vein disease causes. No two people experience Chronic Venous Insufficiency the same way. A lack of symptoms does not mean your condition doesn’t require treatment. See a vein doctor if you have spider veins or varicose veins, regardless of symptoms. Here are some common ones to look for.

  • Spider Veins
  • Varicose Veins
  • Leg Pain
  • Leg Swelling
  • Leg Cramping
  • Restless Legs
  • Heavy Legs
  • Fatigue
  • Itching or Venous Stasis Dermatitis
  • Slow-Healing Venous Ulcerations
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Profuse Bleeding

Which Life-Threatening Conditions Can Vein Disease Cause?

Vein disease doesn’t always progress to a serious level. But life-threatening conditions can result from veins, including a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism. Patients can’t predict how their disease will develop. So, see a vein doctor at the first sign of vein disease. Here are the primary concerns that require emergency intervention.

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: A deep vein thrombosis is a clot in a deep vein. These are more serious than clots in surface veins because of where they can go. Clotting in surface veins can be helpful, for instance, when you get a cut and need bleeding to stop. But a clot in a deep vein can hinder blood’s movement toward the heart and can also obstruct an organ or an artery.
  • Pulmonary Embolism: This is an example of a dangerous DVT. It occurs when a clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, blocking a vital pulmonary artery. This can be fatal. Seek immediate care if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, or faintness.
  • Uncontrolled Bleeding: When varicose veins bulge above the skin’s surface level, they can bleed easily when scraped. If there’s substantial pressure in the vein from CVI, this can cause profuse bleeding that’s hard to control. Apply pressure with clean gauze, and head to the emergency room if bleeding doesn’t stop promptly.
  • Infection: Vein disease can produce venous ulcerations on the skin. These are slow to heal and prone to infection. Left untreated, infection can become a life-threatening condition, especially when it’s located in the blood vessels. If you develop a fever, oozing, or red, warm, skin, seek immediate medical attention.

Can Vein Disease Cause a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Vein disease and DVTs are often correlated. In some cases, a DVT builds pressure in the vein, which results in weak valves, varicose veins, or spider veins. In other cases, CVI contributes to DVTs because of the accumulation of blood beneath a malfunctioning valve. It’s important to see a vein specialist with ultrasound training, so they can check for DVTs. Knowing a clot’s location is essential to safe vein treatments and to eliminating CVI. Simply treating the surface damage won’t suffice if there are issues in deeper veins.

What Other Health Problems Result from Vein Problems?

Do you have restless legs syndrome, insomnia, dermatitis, swelling in your lower extremities, or discoloration on your calves? There are several health problems that result from vein problems, which patients aren’t aware of. Ongoing studies are linking vein disease to a host of other issues, including high blood pressure. Visit our award-winning vein clinics in California to prevent these vein-related health problems.

How Do Doctors Treat Diseased Veins in the Legs?

Vein disease is a serious condition that should not be ignored. But the good news is, treatment is quick and effective with the right vein doctors. Most patients do not require surgery. Our team uses minimally invasive procedures to treat veins in-office, often in under 30 minutes. These treatments don’t require general anesthesia, hospitalization, or downtime for recovery. Our patients often seek treatment during their lunch break and go back to work. Our methods treat visible spider veins and varicose veins and the underlying vein disease. We use ultrasound-guided procedures to identify DVTs before treatment and ensure a successful outcome. Here are some of our most popular methods.

  • Sclerotherapy (Varithena or Asclera)
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (ClosureFast)
  • Vein Adhesives (VenaSeal)
  • Mechanochemical Ablation (ClariVein)

Are Compression Stockings Sufficient?

Compression stockings can reduce the symptoms of vein disease in certain patients. These include swelling and cramping in the legs. However, compression doesn’t repair faulty valves or erase spider veins or varicose veins. Compression stockings can’t heal venous ulcerations, hyperpigmentation, or venous stasis dermatitis. In addition, they aren’t safe for everyone, and they require a vein doctor to select the proper amount of compression. For many patients, a quick vein treatment is a superior solution to long-term compression therapy.

Who Are the Top Vein Doctors in California for Vein Disease?

The top vein disease doctors in California have three convenient vein clinic locations. Dr. Billy Schoenfeld, Dr. Jasmine Koo, Dr. Walter Lech, and Dr. Carly Guthrie are all board certified vein doctors with Ivy-League training. Book a consultation with them in San Diego, San José, or Palo Alto for exceptional vein care.