UNDERSTANDING VENOUS REFLUX DISEASE

Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood to the heart.  Venous reflux disease develops when these valves becomes dysfunctional and allow backwards blood flow by incomplete valve closure.  Patients who suffer from venous disease may present with: varicose veins, spider veins, restless legs, leg fatigue/heaviness, leg & ankle swelling, pain/aching/itching, skin changes, and ulceration.

Risk factors for venous insufficiency:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Obesity

  • Family history

  • Prolonged standing/sitting

  • Multiple pregnancies

 

other COMMON PROBLEMS associated

with venous reflux disease

 

Venous Ulcer

If venous reflux is left untreated, legs can develop painful sores or wounds on the skin's surface called ulcers.  Ulcers indicate a more severe and progressive state of the disease.  Normally ulcers appear near the ankles and lower leg and are brought on from the increased build-up of fluid and blood pressure from veins affected by venous reflux.  Ulcers can be extremely painful and require immediate attention from a doctor.

swelling

Leg swelling, also known as edema, is caused by excessive fluid in the tissue.  In the case of venous reflux, it often is seen in the feet, ankles and lower legs.

stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is a form of eczema caused by "stasis" or blood pooling from insufficient venous return in the legs.  The skin may appear thin, brown and tissue-like, with possible lesions, red spots, superficial irritation or darkening at the lower legs and ankles.