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A CIS Nurse examines a patient's lower leg for varicose vein treatment

What Is Vein Disease?

Vein disease, or venous insufficiency, is a condition when the veins in the legs do not properly return blood flow back to your heart. Damaged or weakened veins cause blood to flow backwards and blood to pool in the legs. This leads to visible, painful or swollen veins.

What Causes Vein Disease?

Vein disease begins as the result of damaged valves within the veins themselves. The primary function of veins is to return blood from the body to the heart. Muscle contractions in the legs help accomplish this goal by pushing the blood flow upward, against gravity. At the same time, valves inside the veins open to allow blood to flow in the correct direction and close to prevent it from coming back. However, when valves become weak or damaged, they may not be able to stop the backward flow of blood and subsequent pooling in the veins. Over time, this leads to the darkening, swelling and twisting of varicose veins.

What are the Symptoms of Vein Disease?

Vein disease may produce no bothersome symptoms at all. However, in cases which do become symptomatic, the following are among the most commonly observed side effects:

  • Discoloration – Veins may appear blue or purplish in color. The skin surrounding varicose veins may also become discolored.
  • Protrusion – As veins become enlarged, they may protrude from skin, with a cord or rope-like appearance.
  • Dry or weeping eczema
  • Leg Ulcers
  • Restless Legs
  • Itching
  • Pain – Legs may ache, cramp, burn, throb or feel heavy. These symptoms may be worse after prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Itching – Itching may occur in areas around one or more of the affected veins.

Diagnosing Vein Disease

Diagnosing vein disease relies on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. To confirm the presence of vein disease, a physician may use:

  • Imaging Tests – Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI can help doctors visualize blood clots in the veins, and subsequent tests can help determine if they are moving or growing larger.
  • Blood Test – Elevated levels of a particular substance in the blood called D dimer that is present with blood clots.
  • Venography – This technique uses an x-ray and contrast dye in the veins to find potential blood clots.

How is vein disease treated?

Vein disease can be treated with lifestyle modifications as well as medication. Compression stockings are most commonly used to help relieve symptoms, improve blood flow and reduce swelling. However, to treat the root of the problem, interventional procedures can be done to remove or close off the diseased veins. Most of these procedures can be done in a Cardiovascular Institute of the South clinic.

Without treatment, chronic venous insufficiency can be very painful and debilitating. It can lead to tissue inflammation, tissue damage, or blood clots, and can cause ulcers and infections, which can spread. It is important to consult a vein specialist for a proper diagnosis.

How can Vein Disease be Prevented?

While certain risk factors for varicose veins are beyond a patient’s control, there are steps that can be taken to minimize veins and their impact on the body. These include:

  • Physical Activity – In order to alleviate pressure in the veins and encourage blood flow, it’s important to take regular breaks from sitting by getting up to move and by elevating the legs for 15-minute intervals at least three times per day. Exercise programs such as walking and yoga are also useful to incorporate.
  • Compression Stockings – Damaged veins have difficulty maintaining their proper position. This can lead to the pooling of blood, pain and swelling often associated with varicose veins. Compression stockings can help combat this by aiding in vein placement.
  • Diet & Lifestyle – Eating a healthy diet of proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fiber can help control weight. Likewise, patients should limit sodium and focus on drinking healthy amounts of water each day.

Treatments & Procedures

Videos on Venous Disease

Venous Disease Symptoms & Treatment thumbnail
Venous Disease Symptoms & Treatment
Dr. Kalyan Veerina on Venous Insufficiency thumbnail
Dr. Kalyan Veerina on Venous Insufficiency
What You Need to Know About Vein Disease thumbnail
What You Need to Know About Vein Disease

CIS Leg & Vein Centers operate in the following areas:

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

8401 Picardy Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70809



191 Innovation Court, Suite A
Gray, LA 70359



225 Dunn Street
Houma, LA 70360



422 Kade Drive, Suite 1
Jennings, LA 70546

CIS Lafayette General Medical Center

Lafayette on Heymann

441 Heymann Boulevard
Lafayette, LA 70503

Lafayette General Southwest

Lafayette on Ambassador

2730 Ambassador Caffery Parkway
Lafayette, LA 70506

Modern brick building with a unique heart-shaped logo on the facade under a blue sky with fluffy clouds.


4909 Great River Drive
Meridian, MS 39305

New Iberia

New Iberia

500 North Lewis Street, Suite 100
New Iberia, LA 70563

CIS Opelousas General Health System


1233 Wayne Gilmore Circle, Suite 450
Opelousas, LA 70570

CIS Thibodaux Clinic


1320 Martin Luther King Drive
Thibodaux, LA 70301

CIS Westbank Clinic, Harvey, LA


1901 Manhattan Blvd, Building A, Suite 200
Harvey, LA 70058

CIS Zachary Clinic, Lane Medical Plaza


6550 Main Street, Suite 1000
Zachary, LA 70791

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