Fight Back Against Varicose Veins

By Dr Shane Lewis

​Tired and achy legs may not be the result of a busy lifestyle or just getting older, but could be a sign of something more serious and treatable​​

Varicose
Venous insufficiency doesn't just happen to women or the elderly and is no respecter of age or gender. Venous insufficiency can cause intense leg pain and discomfort, as well as unsightly varicose veins.

Treatment for such problems, which now involves less invasive measures, is becoming more common as people are starting to learn they don't have to live with the look and discomfort. Insurance companies also tend to cover treatment more often than not because maintaining good blood flow in the legs is important to overall health. If certain vein issues go untreated, people can end up with ulcers and non-healing leg wounds, which can become infected or cause other problems.

It's a medical problem if your legs are tired and achy and you can't enjoy the things you normally enjoy doing. The most common procedure to remove varicose veins​ isn't as "barbaric" as vein stripping can be, but involves placement of a tiny catheter that heats the vein to shut it down. The results are identical to that of vein stripping, relieving the vein of pressure, but provide fewer side effects and allow the patient to be up and running in less time. Blood flow is left to a deeper venous system in the legs. Spider veins, can also be treated, but are more of a superficial or cosmetic issue.

A physical examination and simple ultrasound can identify where blood is pooling and which veins are not working correctly. Symptoms of venous insufficiency includes tired, achy legs, some swelling and sometimes a persistent itch in a particular spot.

Varicose veins are partly caused by poor genes, but can also be brought on by aging and a sedentary lifestyle. Pregnancy and obesity are also contributors, as weight gain and improper weight can restrict blood flow throughout the body. Over time, the veins widen and branch out, not returning blood to the heart.

Often using compression stockings to any age group as a prevention measure. The socks, often worn by professional athletes, can help with symptoms and sometimes prevent problems, but can't treat the disease once it is present. Exercise and staying active is likely the best medicine for the prevention of leg pain. Individuals who sit at a desk all day for work might benefit from standing and walking as much as possible, but also pumping the legs and stretching to keep blood flowing properly.

People think of varicose veins and they think of their grandmothers that's not necessarily who suffers from it. It's women in their 30s and 40s, those who've had multiple pregnancies, and anyone with the genes or certain occupations can develop varicose veins. Fortunately, we can get most anyone back to activity.

If you're interested in learning more about varicose veins or ask Dr. Lewis questions visit Alta View General Survery​