What is the saphenous vein?
Saphenous vein is the longest vein in the body. This vein runs along the entire length of the leg from the foot to the thigh. There are two different types of this vein one is the great saphenous vein which is also known as GSV. GSV is the vein that runs the entire length of the leg. The other vein is called the small saphenous vein which runs from the ankle to the knee.
The GSV has a very vital role to play in conducting proper blood circulation throughout the entire region that it covers. This vein starts from the foot and reaches the femoral vein at the thigh. It passes through the back of the knee area and enters a triangle formed by muscles and ligaments at the juncture of the thigh. After crossing this triangle the vein reaches the femoral vein.
This vein is helps to carry all the deoxygenated blood from the foot and the leg to the heart. The other veins that are attached to the GSV pour all the blood in it so that it could be transferred to the heart. Therefore, this vein is the primary source through which all the veins send the impure blood that contains carbon di oxide to the heart for purification. Therefore the GSV is a very vital vein in the body. GSV is present not only in humans but also in animals. However, there are certain conditions that could lead to symptomatic venous reflux disease.
What is symptomatic venous reflux disease?
When the GSV is in perfectly healthy condition then it functions naturally. However, when the vein is in weak for any health condition then there is a problem in the proper functioning of the vein. This condition is called symptomatic venous reflux. Symptomatic venous reflex is a serious condition that does require medical attention.
There are valves in the veins that act as a one way door. The GSV has these valves which only allow the flow of blood in one direction. Since this vein is in the leg and its function is to send the blood to the heart therefore the flow of the blood is upwards. All the blood that goes through this vein moves upward towards the heart to get purified.
The valves that are present in this vein have a one way opening which allows the blood to flow in one direction only. However, when there is a condition that makes the valves lose and inactive it causes the blood to flow in the wrong direction. This is the condition that is called symptomatic venous reflux.
Most superficial veins that are close to the skin often face this problem. The reason behind the dis-function of the valve is because the vein swells up. When the vein swells up due to some trauma or any other health condition the valve is unable to reach each other. These valves are like two flaps that are attached to either side of the veins. When the veins get large the flaps get apart and fail to meet. This creates a gap in the between them. And the gap helps the blood to flow in the wrong direction.
Venous reflex disease could be both mild and severe. It depends on the condition of the vein and the amount of damage that has been caused. If the symptoms and the pain are severe then you must consult a doctor immediately. If the condition is not cured in time then it could turn fatal.
What are the symptoms of symptomatic venous reflux?
Here is a look at some of the symptoms of the symptomatic venous reflux. If you notice any of these then you must seek medical attention immediately.
- The first sign would be pain in the leg. There might not be any visual signs at this stage but you might experience pain and ache in the leg.
- Regular cramps in the leg are also a sign of symptomatic venous reflux. If you are experiencing cramps or throbbing pain in your leg then you should consider visiting a doctor to check for symptomatic venous reflux.
- Because of the wrong flow of the blood you could experience a feeling of heaviness in the leg. When the blood flow is not regular there are chances of forming blood clots in the veins. Apart from this there could also be swelling in the leg that could cause the feeling of heaviness.
- Being unable to stand on your leg could be a sign of symptomatic venous reflux. Due to the irregular flow of the blood the leg becomes heavy and week. This could make it difficult for you to stand for long hours. Therefore, be watchful of quick leg fatigue.
- Being unable to run or jog for long hours. If there is symptomatic venous reflux then you will be unable to run or jog for long. There will be pain and swelling on the leg because of the exertion.
- The first visual sign of symptomatic venous reflux is swelling in the leg. Since the GSV runs along the entire length of the leg the swelling could occur on any part of the leg. The area of the vein that has maximum damage is likely to get swollen first.
- The next sign would be skin discoloration. Because of the swelling in the GSV you will notice a skin discoloration. The blood clot will make the skin appear reddish or purplish from outside. Again, this is a serious symptom that requires immediate medical attention.
- If it is a severe symptomatic venous reflux then there could be open skin ulcers as well. However, if you are watchful and treat the condition in time then you will not face such severe conditions.
How to treat symptomatic venous reflux?
If you are careful and attentive and see a doctor as soon as you notice the early symptoms then drugs could solve the problem. If the condition is severe then you might have to go for vein stripping. There are many effective treatments for this GSV condition.