Approximately 40% of Women Develop Varicose Veins
If you are suffering from varicose veins, you are certainly not alone. Approximately 40% of women and 25% of men develop this condition.
The veins in your legs are responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood back up from your feet to your heart. This upward flow against gravity is assisted by numerous valves in the veins. If these valves become weak or damaged and unable to close properly, blood begins to flow back down between heartbeats. This condition is known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux and occurs most commonly in the greater saphenous vein. The greater saphenous vein (GSV), extends from the ankle to the groin.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Excess blood and pressure within the veins cause the vessels to become abnormally enlarged and swollen. The engorged veins may appear purple or bluish, twisted, ropey, and knotted. Some individuals may have significant back-flow, but show little sign of varicosities. However, they might experience symptoms similar to those with visual signs of disease. These symptoms include aching, swelling, itching, throbbing, fatigue and in more severe cases, ulceration or bleeding. Frequently these symptoms worsen as the day progresses.
Causes of Varicose Veins
If you have venous reflux, you may have inherited the tendency for weak vein valves. Other contributing factors are pregnancy, increasing age, injury, inactivity and carrying extra body weight. Individuals who spend extended time standing or sitting are also at greater risk of varicose veins and their symptoms.
Most insurance companies cover varicose vein treatment if their client experiences symptoms of pain and/or limitations in normal daily activities. A thorough medical evaluation will help determine the cause of your symptoms and a proper treatment plan.
Appearance of Spider Veins
Tiny purple and red blood vessels in the outer layer of skin are known as spider veins or telangiectasias.
They can appear anywhere on the leg and may be small or gathered densely in clusters. A bit deeper in the skin are somewhat larger reticular veins. They are blue in color and are often the feeder source to the spider veins and can be unsightly in appearance and may cause discomfort in the skin.
Patients often say that the number of spider veins they have seem to increase in the winter. They don’t actually increase in number, but in the fall and winter, our tans have faded so the spider veins may be more obvious, making us less comfortable with the cosmetic appearance.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider veins are primarily caused by genetic inheritance. However, an underlying venous insufficiency problem may be associated and should be treated first. Correcting the cause reduces the chance of spider vein recurrence at a later date.
Dr. Ives has been treating painful leg veins since 2003. He established the Laser Vein Center in 2007 to focus exclusively on caring for patients with painful or problematic legs. He loves to see patient’s health and lifestyles improve with treatment. He truly believes that “Healthy Legs = Healthy Life.”
Dr. Ives is board certified in Family Practice with special expertise in vein medicine. He is a diplomat of the American College of Phlebology, and is an RVT and Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation of ultrasounds.
Having graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, he remains a loyal Tar Heel basketball fan. He enjoys fishing, hiking, cooking and reading. One of his favorite pastimes is time spent with his four grandchildren