The human body contains thousands of miles worth of veins. They are thin structures that run throughout our entire body, distributing blood and nutrients to organs and cells. Veins have tiny valves that direct the flow of the blood to your heart. When one of these veins becomes weak or damaged, the blood can begin to flow in the wrong direction and can back up which causes the vein to swell and or twist, leading to varicose veins. Varicose veins are typically visible on the surface, most commonly occurring in the legs and feet.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you likely are experiencing some vein issues and we would love to walk you through what your options are for treatment.
-Veins are visible on the surface of the skin and appear dark purple or blue, not to be confused with spider veins which appear as “webs” of blue, purpose, or red veins. Spider veins rarely cause serious symptoms, but they can be a symptom of varicose veins and often diminish self-image.
-Legs feel tired & achy at the end of the day
-Itching, throbbing or muscle cramping
-Swelling in ankles or feet after standing for extended periods of time
So, where do varicose veins come from and how to get rid of them?
The short answer is excessive pressure build up on veins. Varicose veins can form for several reasons; pregnancy, obesity, lack of exercise, trauma, being on your feet all day or sitting for too long are a few of the many reasons they can form. They are a common vein condition effecting nearly a fourth of the U.S. population, effecting women twice as much as men. If you have family history of varicose veins or vein issues at all, you are more acceptable to issues as well. Any consistent activity or condition that puts excessive pressure on the legs can lead to varicose veins.
Preventative care for varicose veins includes weight loss/exercise, elevating legs when resting, changing sitting position regularly, wearing comfortable shoes if you are required to stand most of the day, high fiber & low salt diet. We also recommend compression stockings to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. Veins weaken with age, so implementing healthy habits while young is an excellent preventative measure. If your self-care methods are not giving you the desired results or if symptoms worsen, we recommend you schedule a consultation to view what your options are. Complications are rare, but can include ulcers, blood clots and bleeding which will require medical attention.
Your initial visit with Dr. Thomas will include gathering information prior to recommending a treatment approach for your vein problem. More serious issues within the deep vein system must be ruled out. You can expect a medical history report, physical exam and tests to determine the extent of the problem. Dr. Thomas will then walk you through the process of deciding on treatment. Varicose vein treatment includes endovenous ablation, surgery, or a variation of one of these. CT Cardio provides venous ablation services in office. Venous ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency to close abnormally enlarged veins in the legs. It’s an alternative to vein stripping. You can also learn more about how to prepare for the venous ablation procedure, how it is performed, the benefits and possible complications.
Treatment options can decrease or completely eliminate symptoms and can improve appearance but there is no guarantee that problem veins will not develop again in the future and its underlying cause may still exist so it is important to keep your focus on self-care after treatment.
For a full report on problem veins, how the develop, preventative self-care and details on treatment options, take a look at our Krames Patient Education booklet.