Vein disease will affect individuals differently. One patient may only experience very mild symptoms, while others may experience symptoms that are more significant. The only thing that is the same is that without proper treatment, vein disease will become worse over time.
Vein disease has six separate classes or stages.
Stage One – Spider Veins. These are small thin blood vessels that are at the surface of the skin. Called telangiectasia, they are essentially dilated veins and capillaries.
Stage Two — Varicose or Ropey Veins. Varicose veins are more prominent than the milder spider veins. It is at this stage that patients become aware that they are experiencing vein disease. More than 75 percent of people with varicose veins indicate the symptoms are interfering with their lives. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, itchiness, achy, swollen, or tired feeling in their legs. The prime time to have the veins treated is at the first sign of these symptoms.
Stage Three — Edema or Swelling without Skin Changes. As vein disease progresses, patients may experience swelling of the legs. This is caused when the backflow of the venous system interferes with the body’s ability to absorb fluid. While elevating the legs can alleviate the symptoms, it does not cure the disease.
Stage Four — Skin Discoloration. As the vein disease progresses over time, the vein congestion can lead to changes in the color of the skin, as well as thinning of the skin. The skin is more easily injured and takes longer to heal during this stage.
Stage Five — Skin Changes with Healed Ulcerations. If an ulceration develops, treatments can be done to enable would healing to provide relief of the symptoms.
Stage Six — Skin Changes with Active Ulcerations. These ulcerations happen due to improper function of the venous valves and can become chronic if left untreated, and are extremely painful.
Stages five and six are the most advance forms of vein disease. The ulcers that may have progressed to the point where there is interference of proper blood flow, which is required for providing nutrition to the skin. If venous disease has progressed to this stage, any skin injury will heal very slowly. If these ulcers remain untreated for long periods of time, it is likely they will continue to worsen.