Are bulging, uncomfortable veins causing you to cover up in the summer, avert your eyes in front of a mirror, or put your feet up more often than you’d like? You may be tempted to delay treatment and simply cover up, but avoiding vein treatment may hurt you in the end. Here’s why:
1. Vein issues do not go away on their own
Some vein issues develop over time, which may cause you or your primary care physician to disregard the signs of venous disease, or mistake them for the natural aging process, arthritis, or muscle and joint pain. Although vein issues can easily be missed or disregarded, they will not go away on their own.
The exception to this is the development of varicose veins during pregnancy. Varicose veins which develop during pregnancy often resolve themselves between three and 12 months after delivery. It is still advisable to be in touch with your doctor during this time to identify any complications which may result, or address any lingering venous issues which do not resolve themselves.
2. Without treatment, symptoms will get worse over time
Venous disease can be caused by numerous issues. An injury or an inherited weakness of venous valves will worsen over time, causing venous reflux, the pooling of blood in the extremities. Venous reflux leads to discomfort, pain, swelling, and the bulging of veins known as varicose veins. Eventually, the pooling of blood worsens, exacerbating symptoms and discomfort. This can lead to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which left untreated, can also worsen over time. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is caused by blood clots which develop deep in the veins, which cause blood to back up, and legs to swell. Early detection and treatment can prevent or slow minor or early symptoms from progressing chronic disorders or can slow the progression of chronic disorders into unmanageable symptoms.
3. Self-care can slow the progression of venous disease, not cure it
There are several self-care measures you can employ to manage or slow the progression of venous disease. Staying active with regular exercise (such as walking) keeps your blood flowing. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding sitting or standing for too long encourages blood flow in the extremities. Garments which constrict your blood flow, such as elastic knee-highs or thigh-highs, too-tight garments, and uncomfortable shoes (such as high heels) can also contribute to circulation issues. Wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs periodically are other conservative measures which can ease discomfort. However, conservative, self-care measures will not cure your disease. Don’t delay talking to your doctor about arresting and managing your venous disease.
4. Early care reduces the number of treatments needed
As varicose veins or vein blockages worsen, a greater number of treatments may be needed to treat your symptoms. For example, varicose veins may require several laser treatments or sessions of sclerotherapy before they disappear. By addressing blood flow issues, you can avoid the exacerbation of varicose veins and the formation of new ones. The less varicose veins to appear, the fewer treatments are needed.
5. Early care may avoid more invasive treatments
Early stage venous conditions are easier to treat than later stage venous disease. For example, early detection and management of CVI, and early identification and elimination of blood clots as a result of DVT or injury can prevent and avoid the painful progression of the disease into difficult to manage ulcers (non-healing wounds), uncomfortable leg swelling and painful skin inflammation and discoloration. Early detection and management are the keys!
6. Your insurance company may require documented conservative care before they approve other treatments
Insurance companies will often cover the treatment of venous disease, but you may not be aware that insurance companies may require you first to be treated by conservative measures under a doctor’s care. Wearing compression stockings, managing your weight and controlling contributing illnesses (such as diabetes) are all conservative measures which may need to be implemented and documented for a number of months before insurance will cover additional procedures. Be informed! Don’t let your venous disease progress to the point where you need more invasive treatment, only to find out you need to wait months for your insurance company to cover a necessary procedure! Early diagnosis and treatment may avoid frustrating waiting times for coverage of a treatment you need.
7. Early care saves you money!
Being proactive in addressing your vein issues can save your money by arresting a potentially costly venous condition, and reducing the frequency and complexity of treatments. Being proactive can also help you work with your insurance company to cover your medical procedures.
Don’t wait to discuss your vein issues with your doctor. Early detection and care can save you pain, discomfort, time and money.