There are many different types of vein disease, so to do justice to the topic and explain “the stages of vein disease” we need to focus on one particular disease, and the most common progression of its symptoms. So in this article, the doctors from our vein treatment center in Hawaii will restrict themselves to talking about the stages of chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI. This occurs when the valves that control the flow of blood back to the heart become “leaky.” When this happens, it allows blood to flow “backwards” back into the veins (a condition called venous reflux) and pool there. This is what causes them to swell, to take on the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood, and become varicose veins.
The most common stages of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
Stage one of CVI is when these swollen veins become visible on the surface of the skin. This does not happen in every case, because some veins are deeper, under layers of muscle tissue, and don’t ever become visible, but this is the first stage of the disease in most patients. Veins damaged by CVI may appear as small, reddish-purple lines on the neck, face, and ankles, or they may appear as larger, bulging varicose veins on the legs.
In stage two, you begin to experience symptoms of itchiness, burning, or numbness along the veins themselves, and tiredness or achiness in your legs.
Stage three is characterized by edema (swelling of the legs and ankles), which occurs because CVI impairs your body’s ability to reabsorb fluids.
Stage four is when edema is present but is also accompanied by skin changes and discoloration. In this stage of the disease, the skin covering the diseased veins becomes reddish-brown or white, and takes on a brittle, leathery texture that leaves it more prone to injury.
In stage five of CVI, scratches to this brittle skin turn into ulcers, but still respond to superficial treatment.
In stage six, the leg ulcers stop responding to superficial treatment, and can leave legs covered with bleeding, open sores that won’t heal.
What can I do to prevent my varicose veins from getting this bad?
In two words, seek treatment. Find the most qualified vein care specialists in Kauai you can, and allow them to help you. If they diagnose CVI early enough, the best vein doctors in Hawaii can often start with conservative treatments such as diet, exercise, and the use of compression stockings. If the disease has progressed to later stages, it may require more aggressive treatments that actually involve removing the diseased veins entirely.
But in every case the first step in finding out what the best treatment options are for you is to call our vein treatment center in Hawaii or go online and set up an appointment for a venous health screening. You’ll be happy you did.