Varicose Veins are More than Cosmetic: When to Seek Treatment
Varicose veins are often perceived as nothing more than a cosmetic condition, but the truth is, varicose veins can cause very real and painful symptoms. A closer look reveals that those suffering from varicose veins should not ignore the signs.
Varicose veins affect both men and women
Contrary to popular belief, varicose veins can affect both men and women. In the U.S. alone, abnormal veins affect between 50 and 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men. These numbers are often under-represented in our daily lives because varicose veins occur most commonly in the legs, and those who suffer from them tend to hide their legs under pants or long skirts.
Varicose veins are not a cosmetic issue
The cause of varicose veins is tied to insufficient blood flow which comes from leaky valves in the veins. When the veins cannot effectively return blood to the heart, the blood begins to pool, causing the affected veins to bulge and twist. Although maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy weight can minimize the risk of developing varicose veins, they are often a hereditary issue.
When should you seek treatment?
If you experience any aches or pain, you should seek treatment from a qualified vein specialist. Even if you’re not feeling any pain, you should seek treatment if:
- You notice swelling in your legs or ankles.
- You notice Varicose Veins or Spider Veins.
- You start to develop sores.
- You get leg cramps or Charley Horses, especially at night.
- You feel a “heavy” feeling in your legs.
- You notice thickened skin.
- You notice discoloration of the skin.
- Your symptoms are interfering with your day to day life.
If varicose veins are left untreated for long periods of time, the patient’s symptoms would not be alleviated, normal venous function would not be re-established, and more complications such as venous ulcers and Stasis Dermatitis would most likely pursue.
What treatment options are available?
In the past, many people avoided treatment due to the high risk and long recovery times. However, newer, minimally invasive treatments like Radio Frequency Ablation or Clarivein Occlusion are available to treat varicose veins quickly and safely. Typically, these procedures can be performed in an outpatient setting. Since these procedures are minimally invasive, there is far less or no bruising in comparison to traditional treatments.