Individuals who experience the effects of swollen, hardened, and tender leg veins are often suffering from a condition known as phlebitis. This condition presents in several forms, including the commonly referenced deep vein thrombosis as well as superficial phlebitis. While all categorically similar, their causes can be significantly different.
The anatomy of veins in the human body is made up of a network of vessels that appear near the surface of the skin alongside a deeper network that is not visible to the naked eye. Veins located closer to the skin’s surface are referred to as superficial veins. Inflammation of the superficial veins results in the development of superficial phlebitis. Factors contributing to vein inflammation may include injury or deep bruising. Those who suffer from other vein diseases, including varicose veins, are at a greater risk for subsequently developing superficial phlebitis.
Swelling and inflammation that occurs in the deeper vein networks can be caused by blood clots and pose a much more serious medical risk. Deep vein thrombosis should be treated in an extremely serious manner, as blood clots have the potential to travel to the lungs, resulting in death. Clots can develop as part of a hereditary pattern, lack of exercise, injury, or prolonged periods of aviation travel. It is believed that smoking, heavy drinking, and even pregnancy can contribute to the development of blood clots.
Those who suffer from phlebitis often report experiencing a number of unpleasant symptoms, including swelling of the arms and legs and inflammation of the veins which become visible on the surface of the skin. Additionally, those living with phlebitis may experience itching and irritation, limbs that become tender to the touch, and even fever.
There are a wide-range of treatment options available to those suffering from phlebitis depending on the type and severity of the condition. Symptoms associated with mild cases of superficial phlebitis can be improved by regularly wearing compression garments. Easily accessible, compression garments are a quick and easy way to help ensure blood flows in an unobstructed manner towards the heart and does not pool in the veins. Compression garments are a great strategy for those with superficial phlebitis to help avoid the future development of deep vein thrombosis as well. For those already experiencing symptoms associated with deep vein thrombosis, a physician may prescribe a blood thinner to help reduce the risk of clots that travel to the lungs. With constant improvements and advances in medical treatments and technologies, physicians are finding more effective ways to efficiently diminish symptoms related to both superficial and deep vein phlebitis. A consultation with an attending physician may result in the recommendation of an IV treatment. In this procedure, a prescription medication such as Heparin is directly injected into the problematic veins for fast and effective results. If the area is infected prior to the procedure, a physician may combine this treatment with a prescription antibiotic.
While living with phlebitis isn’t ideal, both men and women have the potential to develop the condition and have a variety of options when it comes to treating it. Some of the most effective methods towards diminishing symptoms start right at home. While contributing factors such as heredity can’t be altered, simple lifestyle changes can lead to positive results. Many healthcare experts recommend adding a regular fitness plan into daily schedules as a way to curb the effects of phlebitis. Exercise naturally promotes healthy blood flow and helps the body respond in a more effective way to pain, fatigue and achiness. Similarly, those with phlebitis that work in a manner that require prolonged periods of sitting are encouraged to make a dedicated effort to move at regular intervals throughout the day. Changing and adjusting posture from sitting to standing encourages healthy blood flow and can potentially reduce overall pain associated with the condition. Those whose work or lifestyle requires frequent air travel are encouraged to utilize compression garments during and after flights to reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating deep vein thrombosis. These small changes can have a big impact on how those who suffer from phlebitis feel on a daily basis.
The Laser Lipo and Vein Center of St. Louis offers patients several fast, painless and effective treatment options for those suffering from vein conditions. With many out-patient procedures completed in under an hour, there’s no need to worry about extended hospital stays, risks associated with general anesthesia, or difficult recovery. Schedule a preliminary consultation with one of our physicians to start discussing a potential treatment plan. Make sure to check in with your insurance provider prior to receiving treatments, as many patients will find treatment plans linked to underlying vein diseases are often covered by their plans.