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Get a leg up on varicose veins

Vein disease affects nearly half the U.S. adult population, and for those who struggle with vein disease, it's more than cosmetic. It's a condition that causes significant leg pain and fatigue which affects your daily lifestyle.

Vein disease encompasses a spectrum of conditions. Varicose veins are large, bulging veins that are visible on the skin surface. Spider veins are smaller veins on the skin surface that can be unsightly and/or painful. These are typically indications of weak or damaged blood vessels below the surface of the skin. If these veins are not working properly, the blood will collect and pool in the legs. This causes symptoms such as heaviness, itching, burning, aching, swelling, and/or fatigue.

For active people, this can have an impact on your daily routine. If you don't have this condition treated, it could also cause significant medical issues such as leg ulcers and blood clots. It is best to not ignore these symptoms.

So how do you determine if you have or are at risk of developing varicose veins?

First of all, you can blame mom and dad. The biggest risk factor is heredity, but there are other factors that lead to varicose veins:

  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Age, especially 50 years or older
  • Standing profession or standing for long periods of time

What do you do if you have varicose veins?  

Before seeking medical treatment, there are a few things you can do at home.

  • Exercise improves the blood flow in your body. Try to exercise at least three or more times a week.
  • Try not to stand in the same position for long periods of time. Sit down or walk around a few minutes every hour. A short walk gets the blood moving in your legs.

If you need medical treatment, there are several options.

Compression Stockings
Compression stockings can support weakened veins and help alleviate the discomfort caused by vein disease. These are available with a prescription at a medical supply store or at a variety of online companies. 

You may recognize this as the most common treatment for spider veins. Using a fine needle, a chemical solution is injected into the vein, causing it to close. The body then breaks down the damaged vein, and it slowly disappears. This is a relatively painless procedure. Patients should expect to need one or more treatments to see results.

Vein ablation
This is done by placing a radio frequency tipped catheter inside the vein. As the catheter tip heats, the vein wall contracts and the vein closes. This is an outpatient procedure done in the clinic with some oral sedation for patient relaxation. Patients who undergo this procedure can resume normal activities quickly with excellent results. 

Vein disease and its symptoms should not be ignored. Please contact your physician if you are having symptoms.


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