If you are getting older, you may have noticed varicose veins developing on your legs or elsewhere on your body. If you are a younger person, you may remember seeing these red or purple visible and raised veins on older friends and relatives in your past. These types of visible veins are extremely common, as about 27% of American adults experience venous problems in their legs. Fortunately, there are many good varicose vein treatments.
Click here to read the basics of varicose veins from WebMD.
While varicose veins may be a cosmetic issue, those experiencing them often do not report other negative effects. However, some may feel discomfort in their legs especially after a long day of standing on them. In fact, overuse of the legs over a long period of time is linked to the development of varicose veins. Being overweight, pregnant or having a job where you must stand for long periods of time increases pressure on leg veins. This increased pressure in turn causes the varicose veins to appear. This disease also tends to run in families, so those who are genetically predisposed to varicose veins may want to take care not to cause undue stress to the veins in their legs through overworking.
How Varicose Veins Affect Men and Women
In the United States, women tend to report having varicose veins more often than men. However, this is a reflection of the way men and women report cosmetic issue rather than on a biological difference in the veins between genders. Women often report spider veins, or telangiectasia, which are tiny dilated, veins, usually less than 1-mm in diameter, located at the surface skin layers. These spider veins later go on to become thicker varicose veins in many cases. Men may not report venous problems until they are more serious or visible. In one study from Southern California, it was noted that varicose veins occur almost as often in women as in men, and that spider veins were more frequent in women.
Click here to read more about statistics on varicose veins from the Vascular Disease Foundation
New Varicose Vein Treatments
Many home remedies, creams, or diets claim to benefit varicose veins. Most of these claims are unsubstantiated. Over the past few years however, some treatments have emerged that have proven effective on varicose veins. The most prominent of these new treatments is endovenous thermal ablation, also called laser therapy. This laser therapy is a newer technique that uses a laser or high-frequency radio waves to create intense local heat in the varicose vein or incompetent vein. Heat is directed through a catheter to close up the targeted vessel. This treatment closes off the problem veins but leaves them in place so there is minimal bleeding and bruising.
Essentially, the treatment diverts your blood flow away from the damaged varicose veins and into your healthy veins. Over time, the tenderness in varicose veins will be reduced through this procedure. Endovenous thermal ablation may only be necessary if you are suffering a high degree of pain as a result of varicose veins. Only your doctor can help you make the right treatment decision for your health concerns.
Click here to read more about laser treatment for varicose veins
The Treatment of Choice for Smaller Varicose Veins
A treatment called Sclerotherapy is often the best way to treat spider veins and small varicose veins (those 5mm in diameter or less). Sclerotherapy is a proven procedure and has been in use since the 1930s. After sclerotherapy, treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although occasionally it may take up to a month to see the full results. I perform this procedure, sclerotherapy, with hypertonic saline (concentrated salt water). Contact me and schedule your free 15-minute consultation if you would like to learn more about this simple and cost-effective procedure that can be performed at the Phoenician Salon.
If you or a loved one has varicose veins, hopefully this knowledge will help you understand, treat and live with varicose veins. Prevention is the key while you are young, and reducing damaging pressure on your legs helps manage the problem. I would love for you to share your stories about living with varicose or spider veins. And don’t forget to ask about treatment options!
Thanks for reading, and as always, best wishes for a happy, healthy life.
Dr. Rogena Johnson