Surprisingly almost half of the adult population has some form of venous disease with upwards of 40% of women and 25% of men suffering from symptoms associated with venous disease. These symptoms range from aching and throbbing pain, leg swelling, muscle cramping, numbness and aching to restless leg syndrome, skin changes, and poor circulation.
Diseased veins can be identified in many different forms, from red or purple surface veins called spider veins to large rope-like vessels that protrude from the skin called varicose veins.
No matter what size or shape, these diseased veins can have a big impact on your overall health and well being. They could be a sign of a deeper problem called superficial venous reflux disease.
Normally, healthy veins propel blood back towards the heart with aid from the calf muscle pump. But with venous reflux disease, blood flows backwards toward the feet instead of the heart.
This backwards flow is the result of insufficient faulty valves. These valves don't close properly and consequently allow blood to leak back with gravity and pool in the vein. This pooling causes the vein to bulge and stretch leading to many of the discussed symptoms. Return flow can be reduced by as much as 20 % making the veins a burden to your circulation.
Risk factors include genetic predisposition, the female sex, pregnancy, obesity, hormone therapy, prolong standing or sitting, and injury.