Inflammation of a vein is known as Phlebitis, and although it can affect anyone regardless of gender or age, people over 40 years of age are more prone. Factors such as the decrease in the speed of the venous flow, direct or indirect injuries in the vein, and certain health conditions are usually triggers of said inflammation.
Likewise, it is possible that symptoms are not noticed when it is a mild grade. Still, if it is its severe variant, complications can arise, such as pulmonary embolism, which has an approximate 10% mortality rate. Therefore, it is essential to see your doctor if you suspect that you suffer from this condition for intervention in time. In the meantime, if you want to know more about it, in this FastlyHealarticle, we inform you about everything about Phlebitis: what it is, its types, and its treatment.
Table of Contents
What is Phlebitis
There are more veins within the circulatory system than arteries since these are responsible for carrying blood from the capillaries of the different tissues to the heart. This blood lacks oxygen and, in return, has carbon dioxide and other waste elements from the tissues, which will later be eliminated. The blood is reoxygenated as it passes through the lungs.
Veins are very susceptible to suffering some alteration in their inner layer, both by internal and external factors, which when exposed to them can trigger a process of inflammation in the wall of these blood vessels, which sometimes there is also the formation of clots, and that’s when Phlebitis occurs. This condition can be accompanied by several symptoms in the affected area, including:
- Warmth sensation
- Bulging of the vein
- In more severe cases, it could include purulent contents and fever.
Due to the degree of involvement and the vein in which it develops, Phlebitis can be fundamentally divided into two groups:
- Superficial Phlebitis: The inflammation is limited to superficial veins and is usually not a severe or dangerous condition, so it tends to have a good prognosis with treatment.
- Deep Phlebitis or venous thrombophlebitis: is characterized by a blood clot attached to the vein’s wall, especially in the legs, managing to obstruct venous flow, and inflammation occurs. It is a dangerous condition if the clot is to travel to other parts of the body and blocks blood circulation in vital organs, with the lungs being the ones most at risk of embolism, which can damage tissue and aggravate the situation even become a fatal affectation.
Causes of vein inflammation
There are several reasons why inflammation in the vein could develop, and it is essential to know how to recognize them to act as soon as possible and go to a medical center if you suffer from any of these. The leading causes of Phlebitis are:
- Direct injury to the vein, especially when inserting a needle or catheter incorrectly or with the wrong gauge.
- Sedentary or overweight, since they cause a decrease in the venous circulation and promote stagnation of blood flow.
- Prolonged immobility does not allow the correct venous flow, for example, due to having to rest due to illness or postoperative care.
- Trauma and burns .
- Bacterial infections can occur when given an injection without proper hygiene measures.
- Chemical compounds are either toxic substance that manages to enter the body or a drug that causes a reaction of irritability and inflammation.
- Genetic predisposition due to veins with weak walls and valves, such as varicose veins or clotting problems.
Treatment for Phlebitis
To combat inflammation in the vein, the specialist, in this case, the angiologist, who is the doctor in charge of studying disorders in the circulatory system, first determines the place and extent of the involvement, the symptoms that are present, and the cause that is generating it also to counteract it.
In general, treatment usually includes oral administration of anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, and antibiotics if the Phlebitis is caused by a bacterial infection. He may also prescribe the topical application of anti-inflammatory creams or gels.
In the case of blood clots or predisposition to them, the doctor may recommend anticoagulants or fibrinolytic to dissolve the clots. If these do not work and there is a higher risk of complications, a thrombectomy and removing the lump may have to resort, although rare.
On the other hand, to complement traditional treatment and help reduce symptoms, hot-cold therapy can be followed, applying compresses to the affected area, or externally placing elastic bands or compression bandages on the site of the inflamed vein.
If the treatment is followed correctly, the prognosis is usually favorable. Recovery time for superficial Phlebitis is approximately two weeks, whereas, in deep Phlebitis, it tends to take longer, from several weeks to months.
Some prevention measures for vein inflammation
Some factors depend on chance and, in a certain sense, are uncontrollable. However, it is in our power to reduce the risk of suffering from Phlebitis as much as possible :
- Follow a balanced diet, low in salt and spices.
- Walk or exercise regularly.
- Elevate your legs when resting.
- Maintain suitable body weight.
- Avoid standing or sitting for a long time, especially with your legs crossed.
- Wear comfortable shoes, the size of your foot, and low heels.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Phlebitis: what it is, types and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.