OakLeaf Clinics, SC – Eau Claire Medical Clinic
Arteries deliver oxygen rich blood to the tissues of the body and veins return oxygen poor blood back to the heart. The veins of the legs return blood back to the heart against the effect of gravity when in the seated or standing position. The veins of the legs have valves that when functioning normally, prevent blood from flowing in reverse. The contraction of the leg muscles, particularly calf muscles, squeeze the veins and assist in pumping the venous blood back to the heart. The venous system is composed of deep veins, superficial veins and perforating veins which connect the deep and superficial veins. The superficial veins are close to the skin surface and when abnormally dilated create varicose veins.
Chronic venous disease results from high pressure in the venous system, damage to the valves from blood clots or congenital absence of valves. This results in reflux, which is when blood flows in reverse. Venous disease is very common and an under recognized reason for leg pain. It is estimated that more than 25 million people in the United States have chronic venous disease, with 70% of woman and 40% of men have some varicose veins by the age of 60. More than two million people have more advanced venous disease with skin changes or ulcers.
There is also a misconception that venous disease is purely a cosmetic issue. Venous disease can result in leg symptoms such as pain, heaviness, burning, itching or aching. It can also lead to swelling or changes in the skin such as redness or re-brown discoloration, open wounds or ulcers. It also increases the risk for skin infections. The leg pain and swelling is often worse with prolonged sitting or standing and improved with elevation of the legs.
The diagnosis of venous disease involves careful evaluation of the legs for dilated superficial veins and skin changes related to chronic venous reflux.
Ultrasound of the veins of the legs is very important to look for clots in the veins as well as evaluate the function of the veins. The ultrasound will evaluate the flow of blood and whether there is any reflux.
The treatment of venous disease involves compression stockings, elevation of the legs, exercise, weight loss, and addressing venous reflux. Now a less invasive approach using a catheter can usually be used to treat superficial reflux on an outpatient basis.
Dr. Kluge – OakLeaf Clinics, SC – Eau Claire Medical Clinic
For information or to schedule an appointment:
715-552-9780 | eauclairemedical.com
Dr. Kluge sees patients in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Cumberland and Stanley.