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Venous Disease


Venous disease refers to a variety of conditions that are related to or caused by diseased or abnormal veins. Quite common, venous diseases affect more than 40% of females and 20% of males. While, mild venous disease is usually not a problem for patients, over time it worsens, and can lead to a debilitating condition known as chronic venous insufficiency.

To understand venous disease it is first important to understand the venous system of the human body. The primary function of the venous system is to return blood through veins back to the heart to be re-circulated. Alternatively, the arterial system carries oxygen filled blood away from the heart to be distributed throughout the body.  Under normal circumstances, superficial leg veins have one-way valves along their length to keep the blood flowing towards the heart. As muscles contract, the blood is squeezed forward in the veins. When muscles relax, the valves shut to prevent blood from flowing backward.

If the vein walls become weak or damaged, or if see through pokies the valves are stretched or injured, the system stops working normally and the blood begins to flow backward when the muscles relax. This creates unusually high pressure in the veins, resulting in even more stretching, twisting, and swelling of veins. The abnormal veins with their sluggish blood flow create disorders known as venous disease.


The two most common forms of venous disease are spider veins (small blue or red vessels visible within the skin, usually on the leg, face, neck, or chest), and varicose veins (dilated, rope-like appearing blue vessels visible under the skin).

Other forms include:

  • Spider veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg Swelling and Leg Pain
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Leg skin changes
  • Leg ulcers
  • Phlebitis


Many people inherit vein disorders, and the incidence is higher in women than men.  Other factors that may contribute to the venous disease include:

  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged standing
  • Prior history of blood clot formation in the veins
  • Trauma
  • Female gender
  • Surgery
  • Straining
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle
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