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The blood vessels that route blood to your heart are called veins. Compared with arteries, which deliver blood from the heart to the rest of your body, veins have thinner walls and maintain blood flow under lower pressure.
Venous problems arise when vein valves or walls become damaged. The three most common types of venous problems are varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These conditions disrupt the normal flow of blood to the heart.
At Dignity Health Central California, our heart specialists apply advanced diagnostic and treatment protocols to manage many cardiovascular conditions. Find a Doctor for help with diagnosis and treatment of your venous problem in Central California.
Venous problems can begin with cosmetic symptoms, such as the appearance of varicose veins near the surface of your skin. Varicose veins can swell and become painful, or cause swelling and discomfort in your legs or arms.
Common symptoms of venous problems include:
Some venous problems, such as DVT, can be life-threatening. A blood clot that forms in your leg vein can break loose, become lodged in a blood vessel in your lung, and cause a pulmonary embolism that can cut off blood supply to your heart.
Your veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing to the heart. When these valves become damaged or do not work as they should, blood can pool in your veins and reduce blood flow to the heart. Stagnant blood causes the tissue surrounding the vein to swell.
Your legs are impacted by swelling the most because they are the farthest away from your heart. Blood returning to the heart from your legs has to fight against gravity. For this reason, the veins in your legs are the most susceptible to blood pooling, and the resulting swelling.
This is why doctors recommend elevating your legs when you are resting to help manage symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. With your legs elevated, gravity helps blood flow, instead of disrupting it.
Treatment strategies for venous problems focus on preventing complications, fixing damaged veins, and reducing swelling. The most commonly used treatments are prescription medications and compression stockings and devices. Sometimes, surgery is recommended to address severe venous problems.
You can lower your risk of developing venous problems with regular physical activity, which promotes healthy blood flow from your feet and legs to your heart.
Want to know if you are at risk for developing heart or cardiovascular problems? Take our free heart health assessment and talk to your Dignity Health Central California doctor about your results.
Dignity Health Central California can help you manage your venous problems in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.