Varicose veins are enlarged veins that lie just beneath the surface of your skin. They most commonly occur in the legs. They can be visible, bulging, bluish cords or can be invisible if they are slightly deeper, closer to the muscle layer. These are a result of gravity and the pressure that’s caused on the lower body from standing and walking upright just like Venous Insufficiency. They occur generally at the later stages of venous disease when the veins have become significantly dilated. Even if not visible, varicose veins can cause a variety of symptoms which can be alleviated with different treatment options.
Varicose veins and their cousins, spider veins, are presentations of venous insufficiency. With venous insufficiency, the vein walls or valves do not work efficiently, leading to blood pooling in veins (often in the legs). While varicose veins can be benign and simply a cosmetic concern, for some people they can cause aching, pain and discomfort. Additionally, varicose veins can be indicative of more serious problems, such as venous insufficiency.
Most people believe that you have to see veins bulging out of your legs in order to seek a diagnosis and treatment. This is not true. Many people have no visual signs of vein disease and have only the symptoms.
Symptoms of varicose veins include:
Other symptoms include:
Veins have one-way valves that allow the blood to return from the body to the heart. To do so, leg veins must work against gravity. However, if the vein walls become weakened, stretched or stiffened, valves may be compromised. A weakened valve may interfere with the vein’s ability to circulate blood back to the heart. If this happens, blood can accumulate in the veins. Then, those veins become varicosed.
Risk factors for varicose veins include:
An experienced physician can determine whether a person has varicose veins by reviewing the patient’s symptoms and conducting a physical examination. During this exam, the doctor can determine this visually as well as by checking for signs of swelling, such as when the patient stands up.
The diagnostic test of choice is a lower extremity ultrasound. Ultrasounds are simple, noninvasive tests and are done in the office. They are used to check blood flow direction, the size of the veins, as well as to determine the presence of blood clots or obstructions in the veins.
There are conservative steps that can be taken to relieve the effects of varicose veins and venous insufficiency largely by improving circulation and blood flow. These include:
In the event it is deemed advisable, vein ablation is a technological advancement in minimally invasive surgical treatment that alleviates varicose veins, venous insufficiency and their symptoms.
During your consultation, Dr. Arad will review your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. In addition, Dr. Arad can confirm a diagnosis of varicose veins and venous insufficiency using diagnostic ultrasound done in the office. The test is simple, noninvasive, and takes around 20 minutes.
We can also help keep you free of varicose veins and other vein problems. We provide lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage problems, and can relieve any vein conditions using surgical or nonsurgical treatments.
Contact us today with any questions or concerns, or for an appointment.