People joke about them. People complain about them. And you may know someone who has had surgery or a treatment performed on them. But are varicose veins actually dangerous? Is this a condition that we’re all doomed to experience as we age? Is there any way to avoid this condition? And what are the treatment options for it? Read on to learn more about a condition that affects upwards of 35 percent of all Americans.
What Exactly Are Varicose Veins?
The condition refers to a vein disease in which swollen blood vessels become distorted. The swelling occurs when vein valves are no longer functioning properly. Instead of flowing normally through the vein, blood pools in one location and pressure builds up. This causes veins to visibly swell and turn beneath the skin. This type of raised veining can happen anywhere in the body but is most commonly seen in the ankles and legs.
Who Is At Risk?
The short answer is anybody. This vein disease has been unfortunately categorized as an “older person’s problem”. And it’s true that those who are aging are the group most at risk for this. Why? As we age, veins begin to break down. Our calf muscles (great blood pumpers) begin to weaken. This can lead to muscle and tissue breakdown. Keeping those calf muscles strong can be a great way to ward off some vein problems in later life. But aging is not the only cause of varicose veins. Pregnancy and obesity are two other common causes. It can also be a hereditary condition. While this condition can occur in either gender, it is more commonly seen in women.
While it is never attractive, a varicose vein problem is generally not serious. Some sufferers experience no symptoms at all. Others might notice a mild itching or burning in the inflamed vein area. More serious varicose vein symptoms include constant or severe pain or tiredness in the affected areas. But occasionally this condition can be a serious health or even life threatening issue. It can cause blood clots to form, leading to strokes. Because of this, any developing varicose vein situations should be monitored. If a sufferer notices any of the following symptoms, medical help should be sought immediately:
- swelling in affected areas
- severe pain or increased pain in affected areas
- changes to skin (usually thinning) texture in affected areas
- unexplained bleeding following surgery
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
While all severe varicose vein situations require medical treatment, there are many options. Because of this, varicose vein sufferers should take the time to review available treatment methods and providers carefully. The Advanced Vein and Laser Center (AVLC) offers clinics in York and Lancaster with trained and experienced staff to assist with vein disease issues. They offer advanced varicose vein sufferers various treatment solutions including:
One of the oldest and most common treatments for less severe varicose vein problems, the affected area is injected with a solution. The swelling and vein breakdown are diminished. This is an “outpatient” therapy that generally is completed within an hour in the AVLC office.
This process is for more serious varicose vein cases and involves closing off damaged vein sections. This is achieved using either laser or radio frequency technologies. Both methods are less medically invasive than conventional surgeries and offer faster recovery times. While ablation procedures include post surgery therapies and a longer recovery time than sclerotherapy, hospitalization is not required.
Recovery And Results
Following all varicose vein treatments, compression stocking use is required for one to two weeks. Ablation patients should also expect to receive sclerotherapy as part of their treatment. While varicose vein treatment greatly reduces vein appearance and problems, it doesn’t always completely alleviate the condition. Success results also vary among patients. Sclerotherapy can reduce varicose vein conditions by as much as 80 percent, while ablation combined with sclerotherapy has success rates as high as 94 percent.
A varicose vein condition doesn’t have to be an accepted one. New therapies make this vein condition easier to control and eliminate than ever before. If you are experiencing varicose veins, request your consultation with AVLC today.