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Vein disease is not always obvious. You may not have large bulging veins (or varicosities) but instead have other symptoms of venous disease. For this reason, we offer our quarterly vein screening event. So what are the signs and symptoms of venous or vein disease?
Signs and symptoms
The most common and obvious sign of vein disease are bulging varicose veins. As noted, this is far from the only sign or symptom. Blood return to the heart occurs via our veins. Veins have one-way valves that keep blood moving up towards the heart. When valves fail, blood is allowed to flow backward in the vein. The extra pressure and lactic acid build up can cause leg pain, achiness, leg heaviness, restless legs, ankle swelling and itching. When this problem is advanced, skin discoloration and skin ulcerations may occur. When any one of these signs or symptoms are present, an ultrasound evaluation is used to evaluate the veins.
With ultrasound, we can determine the direction and the velocity of the blood flow in the veins. Ultrasound is painless, sound waves that are too high a frequency to be heard by the human ear. These sound waves travel through the skin and bounce back off structures in the body to produce an image. Doppler ultrasound is used to measure the blood flow in vessels. Sound waves are bounced off circulating blood cells, allowing us to measure the direction of flow.
During a free vein screening, the ultrasonographer will evaluate two of the main sources of vein disease, the great saphenous vein and the small saphenous vein. The technician will apply ultrasound gel to the leg and place the ultrasound probe on the leg. Then, the veins are evaluated and the patient is informed of any present vein disease.
Minnesota Vein Center offers screening 9 am- 5 pm during one of our screening events which are held three times per year. The screenings are held on the specified weekdays between hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We also offer online varicose vein self-assessments. These online assessments allow for quick access to a provider to share your concerns and to ask questions.