Varicose Veins – More Than Meets the Eye

Nobody likes the look of bulging veins or spidery marks beneath the skin – and yet one in four Americans suffer from varicose or spider veins. Many will avoid treatment, assuming these veins are just a cosmetic issue. However, varicose and spider veins reflect an underlying medical condition called venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. Left untreated, these veins won’t just look bad – they can feel bad and get worse. Some unexpected symptoms of vein disease include leg swelling, heaviness, cramping, restlessness, pain, itching, and fatigue. Vein disease also can progress to cause skin changes, venous ulcers, or even make you more susceptible to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

March is DVT Awareness month. A DVT is a dangerous blood clot that can form in the leg veins or in other places in the body. According to the American Heart Association, about 600,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for DVTs. This condition, with its risk of pulmonary embolism (when the blood clot moves to the lungs), may be the most preventable cause of death among people hospitalized today. It is estimated that 300,000 Americans die each year from a DVT-related pulmonary embolism.

Clots form when circulation in the legs is hindered by any number of factors including thick blood, genetic or hormonal factors, slow blood flow, inactivity, or damaged veins. This is where vein disease comes in.

Vein disease occurs when the valves in your leg veins become inefficient at circulating blood upward toward the heart. The valves fail or leak, and blood pools and stagnates. Venous blood carries waste products, so when it pools, it causes chronic inflammation. This damages the vein further, causing an increased risk of DVT. It’s a vicious cycle, though, as the DVT damages the vein wall as well. Vein disease and DVTs have similar risk factors and initial symptoms (leg pain and swelling) and go hand in hand for causation and recurrence.

Both conditions are most common in adults over age 60 but can occur at any age. Blood is more likely to clot, and vein valves are more likely to fail, for moms and pregnant women, smokers, long-distance travelers and those taking birth control pills, amongst other risk factors.

At the Center for Vein Restoration, our initial patient consultation includes a comprehensive visit with the doctor and a full ultrasound scan of the legs, which detects not only vein disease, but also DVTs. This evaluation is typically covered by your insurance as with any medical consultation.

If you have a DVT, it’s important to know quickly. Visiting our center can not only help you avoid you a costly and time-consuming trip to the emergency room, but also get you started on the appropriate treatment plan on the same day if needed.

If you are suffering from vein disease, we offer the widest range of advanced treatment options, including non-thermal modalities. All our methods are fast, minimally invasive, require no sedation, and are covered by most insurances. Walk in, walk out, and continue with your daily activities.

Don’t let leg pain or unsightly veins go unchecked. I have specialized in this field for many years and bring experience and a gentle touch to the process. Take care of yourself. Schedule a scan and evaluation with myself or one of the many board-certified physicians serving the DMV. Call 1-800-FIX-LEGS (1-800-349-5347) or visit us on the web at centerforvein.com.

Seema Kumar
Seema Kumar, MD, MPP is board-certified in venous and lymphatic disease and has been cited as a “Top Doc” in Consumer’s Checkbook. She has authored publications in a range of topics from preventive medicine to nutrition to patient satisfaction measures. She trained at the University of Chicago and Georgetown University Medical Center. She has practiced exclusively in treating vein disease since 2007 and served as a regional medical director for a large national venous practice. The mission of Center for Vein Restoration is to improve lives in the communities we serve by providing state-of-the-art vascular care in a compassionate and affordable manner. We have more than 75 locations throughout the U.S.