Vein Disorders


Vein disorders include chronic and acute problems.  They cover a wide range of symptoms from the most serious blood clots to non-threatening cosmetic blemishes found in the majority of the population.  Chronic venous disorders are very frequent: they affect at least 20% of the entire adult population and over 50% of females over 60 years of age.

Your legs are made up of a network of veins.  Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart.  Venous reflux disease develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased.  This can cause blood to pool in your legs and lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, swollen limbs, leg heaviness and fatigue, skin changes and skin ulcers, and varicose veins.

Facts and Figures about Venous Reflux and Varicose Veins

                        Men                        Women
       Ages 20-29, 1% have varicose veins      Ages 20-29, 10% have varicose veins
       Ages 30-39, 15% have varicose veins      Ages 30-39, 25% have varicose veins
       Ages 40-49, 25% have varicose veins      Ages 40-49, 45% have varicose veins
       Ages 60-69, 45% have varicose veins      Ages 60-69, 75% have varicose veins
  • A role for specific genetic risk factors for varicose veins and spider veins is not known.  However, heredity does play a role in the development or susceptibility for development of venous reflux disease.

  • Of note, when an individual has venous reflux disease, the likelihood of his/her identical twin to have venous reflux disease exceeds 75%.
  • The likelihood of a male to have a relative with a varicose vein is approximately 20%.  The likelihood for a female patient to have a relative with varicose veins is 45%.
  • By the age of 60, 45% of men will experience bulging varicose veins and many of them wait too long before getting treatment.
  • Varicose and spider veins can be symptoms of vascular disease.  The fatality rate due to vascular disease is almost equal to heart disease and higher than cancer.
  • Patients with vein issues should proactively get screened for vascular conditions — especially those who are 55 years or older, as well as any individual with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of atherosclerotic and circulatory problems.