Varicose Vein Treatment

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aricose veins and chronic venous insufficiency are medical conditions that affect an estimated 30 million people. Both men and women suffer from vein problems. There is something you can do about it and insurance does cover treatment.

Vein problems have several common signs and symptoms. You may notice large, ropey, twisting veins or numerous spider veins, especially around the ankles. You may have leg and ankle swelling that increases during the day especially when sitting or standing for long periods of time. Leg cramps and restless legs may also be present. Severe vein problems, or chronic venous insufficiency, result in thickening and darkening of the skin most often in the shin area. Sores that do not heal may also become a problem.

A physical exam by a vein specialist is the first step to diagnosing vein disease. The second step is a specialized ultrasound that maps out your vein anatomy and can identify whether the vein is functioning properly or not.

The veins in our body function to bring blood back to our heart. Arteries function to bring blood to all parts of our body. The veins in our legs are interconnected like a spider web or a mesh bag. There are several larger veins, or major routes, that all the smaller veins drain into. All veins have one-way valves that point or direct blood flow to the heart. When we walk, the muscles in our legs squeeze the veins and the blood inside them, pushing the blood towards the

heart. The valves are pushed open and then are supposed to close, not letting blood go backwards. When vein disease is present, the valves no longer close tightly and blood can leak backwards. While we are sitting or standing all day, blood leaks backwards and pools in the veins of our legs.

As the blood pools, pressure inside the veins increases. Fluid can seep out of the veins and cause swelling. It can also cause fatigue, heaviness and pain in the legs. The congestion also causes problems with the immune system, and sores and injuries no longer heal properlyAs the blood pools, pressure inside the veins increases. Fluid can seep out of the veins and cause swelling. It can also cause fatigue, heaviness and pain in the legs. The congestion also causes problems with the immune system, and sores and injuries no longer heal properly.

So what can we do about it? The ultrasound tells us which of the veins are functioning properly, and which veins are causing a problems by leaking backwards. The easiest treatment is using compression hose or stockings. These prevent pooling of blood in your legs, and they also help the legs generate more pressure to pump blood back to the heart. But, compression stockings are difficult to put on and generally quite uncomfortable. Weight loss and exercise are also helpful. The whole idea behind surgical treatment is to take away the bad or dysfunctional vein forcing the blood to reroute through better functioning veins. Remember, the veins are interconnected and those other routes already exist.

We used to do vein stripping, which was helpful but a major operation. Now, we can do vein closures. These procedures are done in the office, take about one to two hours, and you can drive yourself home. This procedure has proven to be very effective and long lasting and helps slow down the development of further vein disease.

Yes, there is something you can do about the pain, aching, swelling, fatigue, large varicose veins and chronic sores on your legs. These treatments are available here at Northpointe. Please call our office at 435-882-8111 to schedule a consultation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GAIL STRINDBERG, MD. is a board-certified general surgeon. She has been living and practicing in Tooele for over nine years. She received her medical degree from Columbia University and did residency training at the University of Vermont and University of Pittsburgh. Her office is located at Northpointe Medical Park, Building A, Suite 205. Call 435-882-8111 for an appointment.