Every field has its own language, and medicine especially can be dense and difficult to understand for those who haven’t trained in it. The treatment of vein disease features terms and phrases heard only when you start learning about varicose veins. Here is a list of some of those words and definitions so that you can understand the indications and potential remedies as you do your own research.
Venous insufficiency or venous reflux disease refers to abnormal blood flow in the veins. It is often caused by a breakdown of the valves in each vein. When working properly, a valve opens to allow blood to flow through the vein, and then closes to prevent blood from moving back in the wrong direction. Valves that don’t work allow blood to pool in the vein, causing the bulges and discoloration of varicose veins.
Phlebitis is inflammation of a vein, often caused by a thrombus, or blood clot.
Superficial and deep veins describe whether a vein is near the surface of your skin (superficial) or is unseen (deep) until your doctor examines it with ultrasound.
The term thread veins is used interchangeable for spider veins, the thin veins that sometimes appear as a purplish web on your face, chest or legs.
Deep venous thrombosis or DVT is a dangerous condition caused by a blood clot forming in one of the deep veins in your leg. Sometimes it results in pain or swelling, but it might not cause any symptoms. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to your heart or lungs.
Compression therapy describes wearing stockings that fit tightly on your legs to improve circulation. A doctor might recommend them when varicose vein symptoms are minimal, as a way to avoid further treatment, and after treatment to reduce swelling.
If you come across a term used in a discussion of varicose veins that is unfamiliar to you or unclear, please don’t hesitate to contact the Vein Institute of Connecticut. Our health professionals will be happy to explain what it means.