The Ugly Truth About Varicose Veins

This guest post is authored by Dr. Ali Wazni, Chief Medical Officer of United Vein Centers

Over 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, with an estimated 2 million adults seeking treatment annually! Dr. Ali Wazni, Chief Medical Officer of United Vein Centers, is here to tell us more information about varicose veins and why it is very important to keep up with your vein health.

Dr. Wazni explains that although varicose veins are unsightly, protruding, enlarged veins that are visible on the legs, it’s critical to know they are more than just a cosmetic problem. These bulging veins often indicate an underlying vein disease patients’ may not even know they are suffering from called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).

If left untreated, CVI may put your health at risk.

Varicose veins are caused by damaged, faulty one-way valves within the leg vein. Normally, these valves are responsible for aiding the circulation of blood back to the heart. With varicose veins, the defective valves cause the blood to leak backwards resulting in pooling of blood and excessive pressure in the leg veins. This not only causes the unsightly appearance that concerns many people affected with varicose veins but also makes it difficult to circulate blood back to the heart.

When it comes to vein health, your genes play an important role. If your parents or even grandparents have varicose veins there is a 90 percent chance that you will develop this condition as well. Varicose veins affect adults of all ages but tends to be more common in older adults and affect women more than men. Moreover, they can affect your mobility and reduce your quality of life.

Some common symptoms are:

An achy or heavy feeling in the leg
Leg pain and/or discomfort
Leg throbbing, fatigue or cramps
Ankle or leg swelling
Restlessness of leg
Itching or burning sensation in the leg

If left untreated, more serious complications can include:

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) “blood clots”
Skin ulcers “leg or ankle sores”
Permanent skin thickening and/or discoloration
Chronic leg swelling
Phlebitis “inflamed veins”
Superficial thrombophlebitis “vein inflammation with blood clots”

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent varicose veins. However, compression stockings along with physical activity and diet can help slow the disease progression. For temporary relief of symptoms, wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, avoiding prolonged standing/sitting, losing weight and exercising can help. When at-home, conservative treatment
fails there are medical treatments available to treat the underlying cause, restoring your circulation and alleviating your symptoms.

Surgical Vein Stripping is now an office-based, minimally-invasive procedures with little to no downtime. Today, treatment options include Endo-Venous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Radio-Frequency Ablation (RFA), Venaseal, Clarivein, Sclerotherapy and Micro-Phlebectomy. Now, treatments typically take 30 – 60 minutes and are covered by most health insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid.

United Vein Centers recommends early detection via screening to avoid health risks associated with Chronic Venous Insufficiency.