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What Are Venous Disorders?

What Are Venous Disorders?

Venous insufficiency is caused by a series of disorders in the vein including when the valves of the veins fail to function properly. This interferes with venous return and causes blood to pool in the veins. Venous insufficiency can become more chronic and lead to spider veins, varicose veins, phlebitis, blood clots, and changes in the skin. The most serious disorder is a venous leg ulcer. Chronic Venous Disorders (CVD) is a collective term used to describe a long-standing condition involving impaired venous return in varying degrees of severity.

According to the Vascular Disease Foundation, "A large U.S. survey, the Framingham study, reported that 27 percent of the American adult population had some form of venous disease in their legs. It is estimated that at least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins."

Symptoms of CVD include:

  • Edema (swelling)
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Pain or cramps in the calves
  • Skin discolorations
  • Dermatitis (skin problems)
  • Dry or weeping eczema
  • Venous leg ulcer
  • Visible Veins

A feeling of discomfort in your legs may be a sign of an underlying venous disorder. These symptoms include tired and achy legs. You may experience them especially when sitting or standing for prolonged hours.

Your physician can help determine your underlying condition and determine the correct treatment for you.

More Information About Venous Disorders:

Spider veins:  Those are small, dilated superficial veins (also known as telangiectasia). They may be located in different areas of the leg. When found on thighs, they mostly represent just an esthetic problem. However, when located at the ankle, they may represent a serious venous insufficiency. A visit to your physician can detect a possible venous insufficiency. And finally, for esthetic reasons, spider veins can be removed by various simple procedures. After this treatment, 20 to 30 mmHg SIGVARIS compression stockings have proven to help maintain results.

Varicose veins: Varicose veins are the sign of a more serious venous disease. A varicose vein is a dilated and tortuous superficial vein with defective valves. As a result, the blood in these veins flows backward. This condition is known as blood reflux. Varicose veins can be painful, or on the contrary totally painless. We can find them on the foot, the calf, the thigh or on the entire leg. If not treated varicose veins can lead to serious complications. SIGVARIS MEDICAL compression stockings help to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.

Edema: Edema is the medical term for swelling. The edema of the foot and the ankle occurs when the blood stagnates in the superficial and deep veins in the lower part of the leg. The capillaries can no longer play their role. Water and waste build up in the skin in the lower leg and induce a venous edema (swelling of the foot and the ankle). However, not all edemas are of venous origin. Consult your physician for a proper diagnosis. Wearing SIGVARIS compression stocking will reduce or completely eliminate edema. The pressure required will be determined by the physician as it depends on the underlying condition.

Dermatitis: The waste built-up leads to tissue damage, and consequently to inflammatory reactions such as eczema. This is an example of what specialists call stasis dermatitis. SIGVARIS MEDICAL compression stockings can rapidly improve and help heal the condition.

Leg ulcer: A Venous Leg Ulcer is an open wound that usually forms near the ankle due to chronic poor circulation. The ulcer has a weeping, raw appearance  and the skin surrounding the ulcer is dry, itchy, and reddish-brownish in color. Venous leg ulcers are usually slow to heal.


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In patients with venous disease, the internal walls of the leg veins are deteriorated and the small valves are defective and incompetent. When a valve is incompetent, either in the deep or superficial vein system, blood flows backwards towards the foot. This is called reflux. When valves are incompetent in the superficial veins only, the deep veins have to carry more blood towards the heart. To compensate, the veins expand and the valves may not close properly. When this happens, such as in the case of severe varicose veins, the deep vein system may also become incompetent. When blood is no longer pumped effectively from the lower leg, the peripheral veins will not be emptied even when walking. They remain filled with blood and the pressure in the vein will not decrease. This condition is known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) which may result in edema, skin change and in some cases ulcerations.

Wearing SIGVARIS medical compression stockings combined with movement will ease the venous blood return, decrease the hypertension, and slow down the progression of the disease. Click on the following link to see specific information on the respective application field of compression stockings:  

Signs and symptoms of venous diseases

Depending on degrees of severity, symptoms of venous disease or Chronic Venous Disorders (CVD) include:

  • Feeling of swelling 
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs 
  • Pain or cramps in the calves 
  • Skin discolorations
  • White atrophy
  • Dermatoliposclerosis 
  • Dermatitis (skin problems) 
  • Dry or weeping eczema 
  • Venous leg ulcer (open wound)

Acute manifestations of venous disease are serious disorders such as superficial (SVT) or deep venous thrombosis (DVT). These disorders usually occur suddenly without pre-existing conditions, but can also be triggered by chronic venous disease. (see Chronic venous disease, Acute venous disease).

Causes of venous diseases

The causes of venous disease are not clearly identified yet. Considering risk factors we have to differentiate between varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.

Risk factors for varicose veins are:
  • genetic disposition (history of varicose veins in the family)
  • gender (1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 5 men are affected)
  • pregnancy (30% of women will develop varicose veins during the first pregnancy, and 55% will during their second and following pregnancies)
  • age (people older than 50, as older people are more susceptible to develop varicose veins)
Risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency are:
  • professions requiring prolonged standing or sitting
  • gender (women develop edema more often)
  • obesity (CVI may develop even without reflux or obstruction in the veins)
  • age (older people are more susceptible to develop venous disease)

Can we cure venous diseases?

Defective venous valves of varicose veins cannot be replaced or fixed. Superficial venous refluxes can be repaired by surgical removal or sclerotherapy of the varicose vein(s). However, chronic venous disease due to deep venous incompetence - such as in post-thrombotic syndrome - can only be treated by valve repair or neo-valve construction in isolated cases.

Chronic venous disease evolves with time. The therapy consists of methods that help to reduce the "ambulatory venous hypertension". Phlebologists, - physicians specialized in veno-lymphatic diseases -, all agree that compression stockings are THE basic treatment of venous disease. This is the reason why medical compression stockings are recognized as a medicine.

Wearing SIGVARIS medical compression stockings combined with movement will ease the venous blood return, decrease the hypertension, and slow down the progression of the disease.