Varicose veins develop when one-way valves in veins become damaged and blood flows backward and begins to pool. This pooling creates pressure in the veins, and prevents proper blood flow through the body. The results can be cosmetic – as in varicose and/or spider veins – or they can create pain, swelling, restlessness, and other medically-indicated symptoms. Aesthetically, the veins will often become dark purple, red, or blue, as the result of the blood pooling at the problem site. These veins may even become twisted and enlarged, making it possible to feel the vein above the skin. Varicose veins are not only unsightly; they are also incredibly common. About 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from varicose veins that are medically indicated, meaning that they have the condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) and that insurance is likely to cover treatment. Once you reach 55, the risk of getting varicose veins increases to 50 percent – whether you are a man or a woman. In fact, varicose veins – which do carry a hereditary or genetic component to your likelihood of having them – are the most common form of venous disease.Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins: Treatment vs. Cure

There is an important differentiation to make between a treatment for a medical problem and a cure for a medical problem. Once you have varicose veins, there is no direct cure that will cause the varicose veins to go away. Instead, there is a collection of vein treatment options that can support the rerouting of blood to healthier veins, and the removal of diseased veins, if necessary or desired. Purely cosmetic spider veins – meaning there is no disease present, just the unsightly spider veins – require another treatment protocol all together.

For both spider and varicose veins, there is a handful of lifestyle strategies that may help reduce the likelihood of severe pain and/or an increase in more vein damage. Realistically though, this is a progressive disease with a genetic component: once you have it, treating it is the only way to have a chance at permanent and effective relief.

These lifestyle strategies that may reduce pain include:

  • Wearing compression stockings that promote healthy blood flow.
  • Exercising regularly, especially with cardiovascular activity that promotes blood flow.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight level.
  • Avoiding long periods of time either standing or sitting.

Treatment Options

In part as a result of the prevalence of venous disease, more medical attention is being directed toward educating the public, and physicians themselves, about the treatment of vein disease.

While varicose veins themselves are not likely to cause immediate health issues – save the rare times someone with a bulging vein knicks the vein somehow and there is substantial blood loss, in part due to the pressure in the vein – over time the pain, heaviness, and issues with sleep some people have due to CVI can impact their health. The lack of sleep and loss of desire to exercise, because of pain, can lead to weight gain and other complications.

Having varicose veins may also increase your risk for blood clots, as any time the blood pools in the body, there is an increase in the chance for clots.

When varicose veins are removed, the damaged vein is disconnected from the surrounding healthy veins. The body naturally begins pushing blood through healthier surrounding veins. Ablative procedures, which utilize laser and radiofrequency, can shut down diseased veins, rerouting blood to healthier veins. These procedures are minimally invasive, are done in-office using only local anesthesia, and require little or no downtime. They usually take less than 45 minutes.

Again, the use of compression stockings can help reduce the pain of varicose veins, but this is not a permanent solution.

The vein specialists at VeinInnovations are here to help ease the pain and appearance of your varicose and spider veins. Please contact us or schedule an appointment today!