Did you know you can hear the blood in your veins? You just have to listen varicosely.
Okay, so this is about the only time we’ll chuckle together regarding the issue of varicose veins. Those ugly, often bulging and twisting veins are no joke. But to treat them, we have to better understand them – what are the causes, how serious are they, and can they ever go away, are just some of the things that go through our collective thoughts when we see one beginning to develop.
Varicose or Spider?
Approximately 50 percent of our older population will begin to notice either varicose veins or spider veins in various spots on their bodies. Even though they look very similar and are essentially related, their look, cause, severity and location can vary immensely.
Certain lifestyle factors may contribute to what may seem like a sudden appearance of varicose or spider veins. Overall weight, medicines with hormones in them, or if you have a job where you sit or stand for long periods of time can all contribute.
But some reasons for varicose or spider veins are unavoidable. Both can be considered hereditary, women are statistically more likely to develop them, and age is also a factor, as mentioned earlier.
Varicose veins are identified as those veins that are bulging, purplish in appearance and can look very twisted. They are more frequently found in women and usually show in the legs. Pain is occasionally associated with varicose veins, as is a feeling of the limbs being heavy and tired. The most severe instances of varicose veins can result in further circulatory problems.
Spider veins are smaller, are most likely tiny blue or red lines, can appear nearly anywhere on our body (including the face), and are hardly ever painful or a precursor to other health-related issues. They are mainly a sightly nuisance.
Finally, while not all varicose veins are considered serious, it is nevertheless better to speak to your physician or our highly knowledgeable staff here at Vascular Associates when you begin to see them so we can diagnose the veins and give you peace of mind that there are no underlying conditions, or develop a game plan as to how we’ll work together to combat their existence.
What Can Be Done?
So, you’ve come to terms with having varicose veins, but want to know if there are even any treatments for them. The short, and highly positive answer, is YES! Here at Vascular Associates, we can discuss several treatment plans:
Compression socks are not just for diabetes. Designed to aid in pushing blood from your legs back toward your heart, compression socks also work very well in the treatment of varicose veins, thus reducing the opportunity for your veins to become swollen.
Sclerotherapy injections: Using special chemical formulations to close off the damaged vein and causing them to then shrink in time (typically a very short period), the vein will fade away and no longer be visible. Upon your initial visit, we will discuss whether you are a candidate for this procedure, and discuss possible side effects (most are minor).
Varithena: Administered by using either a catheter or by direct injection, Varithena is a foam that will fill the section of the vein to be treated, causing it to eventually collapse (results may be nearly immediate or require 1 or 2 more visits). It is minimally invasive, and the best part? You can walk out and resume normal activities (with some minor restrictions) the same day!
VenaSeal (Closure Treatment): Using a small catheter, a specially formulated vein glue is administered to the affected area, and once it adheres to the vein, closes it off and reroutes the blood flow to nearby healthy veins. It is nearly painless and is an outpatient procedure.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT): Uses very thin fibers to transmit laser energy (heat) to the interior walls of the damaged vein, resulting in vein closure and then the flow of blood is redirected to neighboring veins. It is nearly painless, most patients go home the same day, and the vein fades from view.
Phlebectomy or micro phlebectomy (sometimes called ambulatory phlebectomy): a procedure designed to remove the damaged vein through tiny openings in the skin. This procedure is considered one of the best for those veins that are particularly bulging. But unlike other procedures that merely close off the vein, a phlebectomy completely removes the bulging vein, so the aesthetic appeal is almost immediate.
While there are alternatives available, we want to emphasize your comfort is of the utmost importance to us, so we will thoroughly go over treatment plans from which to choose as well as offer to manage associated pain medicinally to minimize any pain and reduce risks for nerve injury when using thermal ablation.
If you have questions about these or other procedures to remove varicose veins, please make an appointment today, and our caring staff at Vascular Associates of South Alabama will be glad to discuss available options with you and talk about lifestyle changes to give you relief and better health. The best you is possible!