Vein Disease

Varicose veins are almost always a manifestation of a pathological disease process involving the veins of the legs. Indeed the varicose veins are only one of the many signs and symptoms of leg veins disease.

In everyday language “varicose veins” refers to the visible unsightly leg veins but we also use the term to refer to the whole disease process which should more appropriately be called “chronic venous disease” or more commonly “chronic venous insufficiency”. Because we like to use acronyms and abbreviations in medicine we call chronic venous insufficiency, ‘CVI’. “Venous reflux” and “venous hypertension” are other terms you will find used.

For the rest of this discussion we will use the term “chronic venous disease” to refer to all these synonyms which really result from the same pathological phenomenon. This is a common disorder that affects the veins of the legs. These veins carry blood from the legs to the heart. Normal veins have a series of valves that open and close to direct blood flow from the back to the heart.

If the valves within the veins fail to work properly, blood can flow backwards in the veins and pool in the legs. The pooled blood can increase pressure in the veins. All the problems associated with this disease process are from this pooling of blood.