Vein disease affects millions of people, but is often misdiagnosed or not taken seriously when it first develops. Technically, venous diseases are not a single condition but a group of conditions that can be caused by a number of factors, including injury, lack of exercise, obesity, long periods confined to a bed, and various diseases. Because vein diseases are so common, it\’s important to know how to recognize the symptoms.
Many people mistakenly believe that anyone with vein disease will have varicose veins or spider veins, but this is not the case. It\’s common for a patient with other vein disease symptoms to have no visible varicose veins at all. This can be because they are still at an early stage of vein disease or because skin color, skin thickness or body fat obscure the view of the veins.
It\’s important for anyone with vein disease symptoms to get treatment. Symptoms can include the following:
- Legs feel heavy or fatigued – This is often the earliest symptom. If your legs or feet seem sluggish, heavy or tired on a regular basis, do not ignore it or assume it\’s just old age. You should talk to a physician about vein disease before other symptoms develop.
- Difficulty walking or standing – In relation to the heavy feeling, walking or simply being on your feet can become difficult. You can experience soreness or pain when on your feet but, more often, you\’ll simply have great physical difficulty walking. For some individuals, even sitting in a chair can become challenging.
- Varicose veins – As discussed above, you may not have this symptom. However, if it does develop, it is a clear sign of vein disease.
- Restless legs – Some patients will develop a restless leg syndrome, especially when laying down for bed at night.
- Spasms or cramps – There are many causes for cramps in the legs or feet, but if you experience them frequently after lying down it may be a sign of vein disease.
Not every person with a venous disease will exhibit all of these symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, it\’s important to talk to your doctor about them. Be aware that, before the onset of visible varicose veins, doctors may not diagnose your vein disease. If you experience the symptoms above on an ongoing basis, ask your doctor for a referral to see a vein specialist.
While vein disease is treatable, if left alone it can worsen and become a problem. Serious effects of vein disease include lesions, mobility problems, broken blood vessels, and potentially fatal blood clots. In addition, vein disease can become unsightly and embarrassing, as more and larger varicose veins will develop over time.
With proper treatment, vein disease can be managed and visible varicose veins can be eliminated.