Varicose veins, spider veins, venous ulcerations and chronic venous insufficiency are all common problems that affect millions of people worldwide. They are not just unsightly, but they come with a variety of symptoms—including aching, cramping, burning, itching, swelling or heavy sensations in your legs—that, over time, impede upon a person's quality of life. If you have any of the conditions above, then you know this better than anyone—embarrassed by the appearance of your legs, you are often forced to cover your limbs no matter the weather, and to make things worse, you are living with discomfort.
Why You Should Choose to Treat Your Problem Veins
If the aforementioned reasons are not enough to consider getting your veins treated, here are some others:
1. Treatment is better and safer
Only in the last few years has the treatment of all of these conditions changed drastically. In the past, the only treatment for varicose veins was a relatively radical surgical procedure called ligation and stripping, which required multiple incisions and multiple stitches that resulted in a leg that traded veins for scars—and in worse cases, the treated leg lost sensation due to nerve damage. As far as spider veins were concerned, the only treatment for these was a painful injection of a saline solution that caused side effects consisting of burning, ulceration and brownish discoloration. Chronic venous insufficiency and venous stasis ulcers were treated in the past only with support stockings and topical cream to the ulcerations.
The treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, venous insufficiency and venous ulcerations has changed drastically, and now there are minimally invasive, state-of-the-art techniques available to treat them. With the advent of laser and radiofrequency closure procedures for varicose veins, the new techniques for foam sclerotherapy of spider veins and the recognition of perforating veins as the cause of venous stasis ulcerations and venous insufficiency, vein treatment has evolved.
2. Ulcerations can occur in the skin around the ankles
Venous stasis ulcers are usually due to increased pressure in the veins, especially around the ankles. This is called venous hypertension and chronic venous insufficiency and is usually due to what is usually called perforator vein insufficiency. This could be identified by venous ultrasound and treated with either laser therapy, injection sclerotherapy or ultrasonic-guided sclerotherapy.
3. The skin on the leg can become brown and discolored
Brownish discoloration, especially around the lower calfves and ankles, is a chronic condition affecting many people. This is usually associated with leg swelling and other symptoms of cramping and aching. Often times, it is a result of a significant backup of blood in the veins, which can lead to swelling and weakening of the skin. The backup of the blood ultimately makes the skin become a brownish color.
Phlebitis is defined as a clot in the vein. There are two kinds are: superficial phlebitis, affecting the veins right under the skin; and deep phlebitis, or deep venous thrombophlebitis. This is more dangerous and can lead to clots in the deeper veins, which can ultimately break off and form a pulmonary embolism.
5. Restless legs
If you listen to the radio and T.V. concerning restless legs, you would only feel that the treatment for this symptom is a high-priced medication with multiple side effects. However, the majority of restless legs are due to underlying vein disorders and many times due to what is called reflux or incompetence of the valve in the veins of the leg leading to backup of blood in the venous circulation and resulting symptoms of cramping, aching and restless legs. This could be documented and diagnosed by a venous ultrasound.
6. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins have a bulging rope-like appearance; they are obvious to the naked eye and in order for you to have varicose veins, there has to almost always be an associated malfunctioning valve.
7. Spider Veins
Spider veins derive their name from the fact that they look like little spider legs. They can vary from just a few veins to an extensive amount of veins. Often times these veins are due to valves not working and they can be treated with either injection sclerotherapy or a combination of valve closure and sclerotherapy. It should also be noted that spider veins by themselves can cause significant symptoms of aching and cramping and heaviness.
8. Bleeding veins
In my practice, at least once a month I see a patient who has had spontaneous bleeding from either a varicose vein or spider vein. Sometimes this can occur from localized trauma or can even occur spontaneously. An absolute indication for treatment of veins is bleeding. Any varicose vein or spider vein has the potential to cause bleeding, especially those that are thin and very close to the skin's surface.
The bottom line is, however, that if you are symptomatic and your veins are not functioning properly, then it would be prudent for you to be treated. But first, you must go in for an evaluation with a board-certified phlebologist. A physical evaluation and testing will help your vein specialist determine your condition, how severe it is, and how it can best be treated. You will find that there are procedures that are easy to do, have little downtime, are office-based, and give you excellent results.
Reviewed February 10, 2017