Common Types of Deep Vein Disease

You can see some veins on yourself or other people pretty easily, but the visible blue veins under the skin are only superficial veins. Like an iceberg, most of your veins lie beneath the surface. 

The ones that you can see only carry about 10 percent of your blood on its journey to the heart. The other 90 percent of the blood runs far beneath the surface in your deep veins, and there are many serious medical conditions that can originate in the deep veins.

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in one of your deep veins. Usually it happens in the legs, but it can happen elsewhere. DVT can be caused by conditions that affect the clotting of the blood or by long periods of inactivity, such as a long car or plane trip or being confined to bed due to surgery or another medical condition.

A clot (also called a thrombus) can break loose and travel through your bloodstream to cause much more serious problems, including pulmonary embolism, which can cause permanent damage to the lungs and even cause death.

Common symptoms of DVT include pain, redness, swelling or warmth in the leg (or other extremity), but some patients with DVT do not experience any symptoms at all. 

May-Thurner syndrome

This syndrome, also known as iliac vein compression syndrome, is caused when the iliac vein is compressed by the iliac artery that crosses over it in the pelvic area. Patients with May-Thurner syndrome are at higher risk of developing a DVT, and many do not know they have the syndrome until they are treated for a DVT.

Deep vein stenosis

Deep vein stenosis is a narrowing of the deep veins, which makes it harder for the blood to pump throughout the body and puts more strain on the heart.

Chronic venous insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when valves in the veins don’t work as they should, which allows blood to pool in the legs instead of traveling back to the heart. Varicose veins, swelling, and skin problems can all be indicators of chronic venous insufficiency. When it happens in cases where deep vein thrombosis has already occurred, it’s called post thrombotic syndrome.

Treatment of deep vein diseases

Any of these problems can create serious and potentially life-threatening issues, and they come with complications like lymphedema (swelling from a damaged lymph system) or venous ulcers (broken skin that won’t heal). 

Treatment options may include use of medications to reduce the risk of clots, valve repair, stents, or other procedures to improve blood flow and reduce the complications of deep vein disease.

Oklahoma Heart Hospital’s vein specialists can diagnose and treat diseases of both the superficial and deep veins. Contact us today to set up an appointment.