How an Ultrasound Helps Diagnose Venous Insufficiency

How an Ultrasound Helps Diagnose Venous Insufficiency

Heavy throbbing legs can wreak havoc on what would otherwise be a beautiful day in the park with your grandchildren. Before you know it, you’re avoiding activities with friends and family simply because of your leg pain.

You are familiar with how venous diseases can diminish your quality of life if you are among the one in three adults who suffer from varicose veins or one in 50 patients whose condition progresses to chronic venous insufficiency. But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Saleem Saiyad, MD, at Premier Vein & Vascular. Diagnostic tools like ultrasound can help your physician diagnose venous insufficiency and provide a proper treatment plan to get you back on your feet.

Venous insufficiency explained

To better understand what venous insufficiency is and how it may affect your health and quality of life, let’s discuss why healthy blood flow matters. The human body is a collection of cells, tissues, and organs. While each has its own specific purpose and function, they share a common need – they all rely on getting oxygenated blood to function optimally.

Your veins are the conduits for the delivery of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. Under normal conditions, veins carry blood back to the heart against gravity. Specifically, the pulmonary veins deliver oxygenated blood from your lungs to your heart then the veins deliver this nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. This process can’t happen unless the one-way valves inside the veins are healthy, allowing blood to flow in one direction.

When the valves become weak or damaged, blood pools and leaks backward, a condition known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux. Varicose veins and spider veins are common vein issues that can result when the one-way valves don’t work. If your veins have an ongoing problem delivering blood from the limbs back to the heart, the condition is chronic venous insufficiency.

Deep vein thrombosis is a common cause of venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency can result from congenital issues or problems with the structure of the veins; however, the most common cause of venous insufficiency is deep vein thrombosis or DVT. DVT is the third most common vascular condition after strokes and heart attacks.

DVTs occur as a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body. Although the clot can happen in your pelvis or arm veins, most DVTs occur in the legs, which can completely or partially disrupt blood flow. If the clot breaks off and travels to the lung, it can trigger a pulmonary embolism in the arteries that transport blood to the lungs. One to three out of every 1,000 Americans develops DVT or pulmonary embolism annually, and sadly about 300,000 won’t survive.

Ultrasound is a safe diagnostic tool

While it’s critical to understand the possible complications of any medical condition, just because you have venous insufficiency doesn’t mean it’s a foregone conclusion that your issue results in a pulmonary embolism or even chronic venous insufficiency.

If you have spider veins or varicose veins or suffer from leg swelling or heavy-feeling legs, don’t wait. Contact your doctor and have it checked out. Here at Premier Vein & Vascular, we utilize vascular ultrasound as a vital diagnostic tool. It’s also one of the safest types of diagnostic technology because no ionizing radiation is required.

While your physician may ask you not to eat or drink anything but water for six to eight hours before your ultrasound, little or no special preparation is required. Come to the appointment wearing loose, comfortable clothing, or your provider may ask you to wear a gown.

Vascular ultrasounds leverage sound waves to create clear images of the veins in the body that might not be as visible using other diagnostic tests. Vascular ultrasound generally detects blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis, and blockages in your arteries or veins. Ultrasound is also a useful tool that provides visual guidance for varicose and spider vein treatment and endovascular surgery.

If your achy legs keep you from living your best life, contact Premier Vein & Vascular or book an appointment online today at our Tampa or Largo, Florida office. Our highly trained medical team can get to the bottom of what’s happening and help you return to feeling like yourself again.

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