Varicose Veins…Insidious Enemy
- Twisted, enlarged, red or blue, filled with stagnant blood, easily forming clots.
- Abnormal veins that grow and spread in a deceitful manner for years.
- Already visible, present themselves as bulging ropes, discolored skin, ulcerated skin.
- Varicose veins are also called varicosities.
- Will never disappear without treatment.
- Simple office based procedures will take care of varicose veins.
- No herbs, ointments, pills have been proven to cure the problem.
- Present in about 40% of US population.
How do Varicose Veins form?
Blood return from the legs is propelled by the leg muscles. When in motion (walking, exercising), our muscles contract, squeezing the veins. Blood gets pushed up towards the heart. In healthy veins, the blood does not reflux back (back down towards the foot) upon muscle relaxation. Vein valves play a major role in the process.
Many veins, particularly those in the legs, have one-way valves. Each valve consists of two flaps with edges that meet. Blood, as it moves toward the heart, pushes the cusps open like a pair of one-way swinging doors. If the blood tries to pull backward, the cusps close, stopping backward flow. Valves help the return of blood to the heart—by opening when the blood flows toward the heart and closing when blood might flow backward because of gravity.
What happens when valves stop working, lose their function?
Leaky valves, what we call them, promote development of varicose veins.
The blood flow is not directed towards the heart anymore. Valves do not close and the backward stream of returning blood moves down towards the foot. Legs vein pressure increases. Veins become larger and larger, trying to accommodate the surplus of retained blood. Blood finds its way into smaller veins, making them larger over time. Varicose veins form in a perpetuated manner.
What are the risk factors for Varicose Veins?
Hereditary aspects leading to weak vein valves seem to be the predominant risk factor.
Sometimes, varicose veins occur for no apparent reason.
Other predisposing factors:
- Being female
- Older age
- History of blood clots
- Occupation (prolonged standing)
What symptoms should alarm presence of Varicose Veins?
Bad news, varicose vein can be very insidious. Tiredness, aches, skin discolorations can be perceived as “normal”.
We should pay attention to:
- Visible veins
- Feeling of tiredness, fullness, aching, pain in the legs
- Legs heaviness
- Muscle cramps, especially at night
- Skin irritation, skin dryness, skin discoloration
- Hardening of the skin and sores/ulcers formation
Complications of Varicose Veins!
- Swelling of the foot or the leg
- Skin hardening, discoloration
- Skin infection
- Sores and ulcers (very difficult to heal)
- Inflammation of the vein (thrombophlebitis)
- Blood clots
How are Varicose Veins diagnosed and treated?
Every patient must be seen by a vein specialist.
The Institute for Vein Health has made the whole process very easy for the patients.
Diagnosis and treatment plan are established during the first visit.
Diagnostic ultrasound, in the office, is a pillar in visualization of vein abnormalities and blood flow in the veins. The ultrasound measures degree of backward circulation and diameter of veins. It is also helpful in so called vein mapping, which contains graphic description of varicosities and veins to be targeted during treatment procedures. Ultrasound helps in discovering dangerous blood clots and other associated abnormalities.
There are several treatment options for varicose veins.
Support stockings, lifestyle changes, weight loss are important adjunct treatment modalities, but they do not provide a definitive cure.
Definitive treatment consists of simple, nowadays office based procedures. Surgical options (like vein stripping) are deemed obsolete and carry high rate of complications and long disabilities.
Modern varicose vein treatment options include:
- Sclerotherapy -simple, fast, inexpensive
- Radiofrequency occlusion
- Endovenous Laser Thermoablation
The modern varicose treatment modalities do not require general anesthesia, last up to 60 minutes, and patients return to normal life immediately after the procedures.
Will health insurances pay for Varicose Vein treatment?
Majority of health plans provide benefits for treatment of varicose veins.
Our representative communicates medical necessity and obtains approval for required treatment plan on patients’ behalf.