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February 2020

Cosmetic Issues with Varicose Veins? Or …

… Or Something More Serious?

Varicose veins are common, and they affect more women than men. They can cause problems for many people.

When your veins are healthy, they keep blood flowing to the heart. However, sometimes the valves in your veins stop working properly, and they allow blood to flow backward (“reflux”) – which allows blood to pool in the lower leg veins. This pooling condition is called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), which makes it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs (although sometimes it can occur in the arms).

CVI is also known as Phlebitis, Post-Thrombotic Syndrome, Venous Insufficiency, Venous Leg Ulcer or Venous Reflux Disease.

CVI, one of the underlying causes of venous ulcers, is a potentially serious and progressive medical condition. Symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated.

If you have CVI, you may notice any of the following symptoms in your legs:

  • Varicose veins
  • Bulging veins
  • Spider veins
  • Aching
  • Swelling
  • Edema
  • Cramping
  • Heaviness or fatigue
  • Itching
  • Open skin sores
  • Restlessness
  • Skin discoloration

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a fairly common condition that may affect up to 40% of the U.S. population. It is more common in women, especially after multiple pregnancies, and in people who are middle-aged or older. Chronic Venous Insufficiency is 2 times more prevalent than coronary heart disease (CHD) and 5 times more prevalent than peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Chronic Venous Insufficiency can affect anyone; gender and age are factors that may increase your risk. For example, women older than 50 are more likely than others to develop CVI. Other factors that may increase your risk, include:

  • Family history
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Trauma
  • Prolonged standing
  • Obesity or excess weight
  • Current or previous pregnancies
  • Smoking

For mild forms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, lifestyle changes may be recommended to control existing symptoms and prevent others. The following measures may help prevent varicose veins and CVI:

  • Manage body weight
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (run or walk)
  • Elevate your legs whenever possible
  • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting
  • Avoid clothes that are tight around the waist, groin or legs
  • Avoid shoes that limit use of calf muscles (i.e., high heels)
  • Eat a diet low in salt and rich in high-fiber foods

If you aren’t sure if your varicose veins indicate something more serious rather than just being a cosmetic issue, you should contact an appropriate healthcare professional to evaluation our condition. Main Line Spine’s Dr. Farzad Karkvandeian is an expert in this condition and can help you evaluate your situation.

The good news is if you require treatment, there are minimally invasive options available for varicose veins and Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

For appropriate cases, Main Line Spine utilizes the ClosureFast™ procedure for treating Chronic Venous Insufficiency. This therapy utilizes segmental radiofrequency ablation to deliver uniform heat to close the vein. Once sealed, blood is directed to nearby healthy veins. The ClosureFast™ procedure has been shown to deliver clinically demonstrated results with improved patient comfort and rapid recovery.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Karkvandeian, please call us at: (610) 337-3111.

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