If a friend with venous insufficiency has venous ulcers, but you don’t, does that mean you don’t have vein disease like they do? Or if another friend suffers with extreme leg cramps, but you never have, does this also indicate that you don’t have vein disease?
The truth is that chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or vein disease exhibits itself through many different symptoms including:
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
- Leg pain
- Aching legs
- Leg swelling
- Swollen ankles
- Itchy skin
- Skin ulcers
- Edema in legs
- Restless legs
- Skin discolorations
- Leg cramps
However, not every patient will experience all of these symptoms. It’s likely that your symptoms will not be identical to another patient’s because so many external and internal factors come into play.
Every patient and every diagnosis is different. Some symptoms can adequately be managed with an improved diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes, while for another patient, varicose veins treatment or another treatment plan may be necessary.
What factors into vein disease that makes its symptoms different for everyone? Understanding the reasons behind your particular symptoms and why they vary from another individual can help you and your physician come up with a more effective treatment plan.
Factors Within Your Control and Those that are Not
Simply put, some underlying factors of chronic venous insufficiency are out of your control. You cannot, for example, change your family’s medical history of vein disease and high blood pressure. Or, as much as you would like to take a walk or go on a run after surgery to improve blood circulation, you may be confined to bed rest.
Likewise, your symptoms may differ from another patient who works at a job where they are on their feet all day, and another who sits at a desk during the workweek. One of these other patients may be trying to lose weight, while another is 8-9 months pregnant. Some may have already undergone varicose vein treatments, while others may not. So many factors go into a single diagnosis, each varying in some degree from patient to patient.
The disease is the same. However, the root causes and contributing circumstances within and outside a patient’s control will change how the disease manifests itself.
Severity of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Generally, a good indication of CVI is the appearance of varicose veins and/or spider veins. While it’s common to see both, again, some patients may experience one type over another. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins in that their weakened structure allows blood to pool, but they don’t protrude above the skin’s surface or appear as gnarly or twisted as varicose veins.
Most vein disease symptoms occur in a patient’s legs, however, an individual may come across spider veins on their chest or facial spider veins that need to be removed. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t suffering from the same venous insufficiency as another patient with large varicose veins on their legs, just in a different form.
Specific spider vein treatment for cosmetic purposes compared to varicose veins treatment are again very similar since they both deal with the same vein disease. Even still, patients seeking varicose vein removal often suffer from large amounts of ongoing leg pain. It’s not merely to remove unsightly veins, their needs may go beyond purely cosmetic even for the same venous insufficiency.
Emerging DVT Symptoms
Additional symptoms you may be experiencing could be associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition, common among patients with CVI, doesn’t always manifest any symptoms, but when it does such signs can include a strained or tight feeling in the patient’s calf and/or swelling and heat in the affected area. Blood clots formed due to this condition should be treated as soon as possible to prevent further, dangerous complications to the patient.
Not everyone who lives with chronic venous insufficiency will develop DVT. Your leg pain may be severe, but this does not necessarily mean that you have a “blood clot” or DVT. This is just one more area of vein disease where symptoms and treatments may vary.
Duration of Vein Disease
As the name suggests, chronic venous insufficiency is a recurring and long-lasting disease. However, the earlier it is diagnosed, the sooner steps can be taken to manage vein disease and treat it. Symptoms get more serious the longer a patient suffers from CVI. Should your symptoms not feel as extreme as another’s, the chances are that the other patient has been living with vein disease longer than you.
See a vein specialist as soon as you notice varicose veins, acute leg pain, swollen legs or ankles, spider veins, or other vein disease symptoms. This is the best place to begin when determining what treatment plan you need for your specific symptoms.
For patients in Southern Utah, visit Heart of Dixie Vein & Vascular Center! Meet with our experienced specialists in Cedar City, Kanab, Beaver, and St. George, UT for personalized treatment plans catered to each patient’s needs. We understand the underlying factors that make your symptoms different from another individual’s, and how to address your vein disease from the root of the problem.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our vein centers nearest you!