Symptoms of Vein Disease

Signs of Blood Clots in the Leg Veins (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is when a blood clot forms in one of the body’s large veins, usually in the lower leg or calf. These blood clots partially or completely block the vein, and may break off and travel to the lungs causing a potentially deadly pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is a medical emergency, so if you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1:

  • Swelling in one leg or along a vein in the leg
  • Pain or tenderness in one leg (may only appear when standing or walking)
  • Warmth, redness, or discolored skin in the affected leg
  • Unexplained shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat, sweating, and/or sharp chest pain, especially during deep breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Dizziness or passing out

Signs of Chronic Vein Disease

Varicose veins are the most common early sign of vein disease:

  • Leg veins that rise above the surface of the skin
  • May appear flesh-colored, blue, or dark purple
  • Usually have a cord-like appearance and may be twisted or bulging
  • Often located at the back of the calf or inside of the legs

At first, varicose veins may not cause any other symptoms, but they are a sign of an underlying problem that will gradually get worse over time. As chronic vein disease progresses, eventually the veins become unable to send enough blood back to the heart, a condition known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). This causes blood to pool in the legs, producing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Pain, aching, heaviness, or cramping in the legs (usually worse when standing, and improved when the legs are raised)
  • Itching, tingling, or burning sensation in the legs
  • Scaly, itchy rashes (eczema) and thickening of the skin
  • Slow or non-healing wounds on the legs (ulcers)
  • Darkening of the skin on the legs (in severe cases)

If you have varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, or skin changes, or experience any of the other symptoms of CVI, make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Treatments are available to relieve your symptoms and prevent serious complications such as blood clots and even amputation of the foot or leg.

Learn More:

  • Preventing DVT: The Basics
  • Diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism
  • Diagnosis of Chronic Vein Disease

Coming Soon:

  • Treatment of Vein Disease
  • Living with Vein Disease

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