3d rendered illustration of the male vascular system

Both vein disease and arterial disease are potentially serious conditions that require medical care. However, they’re very different. To understand the differences, you need to understand the differences between veins and arteries -– something that most people haven’t thought about since their high school biology classes.

Here’s a quick refresher on veins and arteries and on the impact of vein and artery disease on the body.

Veins

  • Carry deoxygenated blood from throughout the body to the heart after it has provided nutrients to the body. (The exception is pulmonary veins, which carry blood filled with oxygen from the lungs over the left atrium of the heart).
  • Can be either superficial (close to the skin’s surface) or deep in the muscle tissue.
  • Contain valves that keep the blood flowing in the intended direction when they’re working properly.
  • Have thin walls that can be injured, causing blood to flow out of them, causing pooling that can result in vein disease and varicose veins.

Arteries

  • Generally carry oxygenated blood from your heart throughout to organs and tissue throughout the body
  • Are located deep in the body. (There is a corresponding artery for every deep vein.)
  • Have thick walls.
  • Do not have valves because they use their own pressure to move the blood.

Vein Disease vs. Arterial Disease

  • Usually vein disease occurs when the valves or walls of the veins are damaged or weakened. This causes blood to pool rather than return to the heart as efficiently as it should. This pooling causes varicose veins and other symptoms of vein disease like swelling, discomfort and fatigue in the legs. It can also cause more serious conditions like skin ulcers and blood clots.
  • Arterial disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, blood cells, cholesterol and/or fibrous tissue on the walls of the arteries that’s called atherosclerosis. It’s commonly linked to hypertension, heart disease and strokes if not treated in a timely manner.

Both venous and arterial disease can be lifestyle factors such as being overweight, not getting enough exercise and smoking. However, vein disease is more likely to have a hereditary component as well.

If you are experiencing symptoms of vein disease, including varicose veins, the vein specialists at VeinInnovations can perform a state-of-the-art ultrasound test to determine the exact location and extent of any vein damage, and then recommend the best minimally-invasive treatment to remove the diseased or damaged veins. Call us or contact us online to schedule an evaluation.