Why do some people get varicose veins and others do not?

Baird why some varicose veins

Varicose veins, ranging from the blue splotches of spider veins to the thick, ropey and twisted dark varicose veins that can make standing and walking painful, have much in common. They’re unsightly. They can be painful. If left untreated, they can progress to serious health problems. They’re very common: 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women.

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful.

Some people do not have any troublesome symptoms at first. Mild symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Heaviness, burning, aching, tiredness, or pain in your legs, particularly when you stand or sit for a long time
  • Itchy skin over the vein

More serious symptoms may include:

  • Leg swelling
  • Swelling and calf pain after you sit or stand for long periods of time
  • Skin changes, such as skin color or dry, thin or scaling skin
  • Inflammation
  • Open sores or excessive bleeding after a minor injury

But why do some people get varicose veins, while others do not? Varicose veins can be caused simply by advancing age or pregnancy. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:

  • Age. The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
  • Sex. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause may be a factor because female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.
  • Family history. If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will too.
  • Obesity. Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time. Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.

The weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

However, not all varicose veins require clinical treatment. In mild cases, home treatment may be all you require to ease your symptoms and keep the varicose veins from getting worse. You can:

  • Exercise to strengthen the muscles and veins of the legs
  • Wear compression stockings to improve blood flow and limit vein swelling
  • Prop up your legs to allow the blood to flow out of the legs easier.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing.

Most insurers typically cover treatment of the more serious, symptomatic varicose veins; some do not cover treatment for spider veins, considering it a cosmetic procedure.

If your diagnosis indicates that you need a specific treatment, our staff will submit all relevant information to your insurance company for pre-authorization, or provide you with the approximate cost of treatment.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

 

 

 

 

 

What is reflux in the veins?

baird reflux

Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

We talked to Dr. Malcom Sydnor about varicose veins, and what the term “reflux” means. “When people have varicose that are large or substantial that is almost always a result of reflux,” said Dr. Sydnor. “What reflux means is that all the blood your body should flow in your lower extremities from your feet, back to your heart and lungs were it picks up oxygen and gets redistributed back through your body.”

“But sometimes the saphenous veins in the legs, which have valves in them to keep the blood flowing north,” he continued, “have valves that become leaky and have problems and then the blood starts falling south instead of moving north.”

“When that happens it’s like an upside down tree – it kind of blows out all the rest of the veins that are supposed to be feeding into it, and that’s actually what you see on the surface with spider veins, reticular veins, and varicose veins.” Dr. Syndor continued, “So, reflux in the legs is when the blood flows south instead of flowing north north the way supposed to be. When that happens, the blood becomes engorged when it sits down in your legs. You can get ankle swelling, you can get pigmentation changes, all because you have a bunch of deoxygenated blood that sitting down there and it’s not getting the chance to get back to your heart and lungs to pick up oxygen the way it should be.”

To treat more serious varicose vein problems, we offer several effective and minimally invasive solutions. After diagnosis, we will discuss your options so you can choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Although effective, no varicose vein treatment, whether surgical or minimally – invasive, can prevent new varicose veins from developing in the future. Most health insurance plans cover treatment of significant symptomatic varicose veins, but some consider treatment of spider veins as cosmetic surgery.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options. You may decide that beautiful legs and pain free legs are worth it.

Who’s at risk for varicose veins?

Baird whos at risk for varicose

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Spider veins are small, surface veins, which, while embarrassing, are relatively minor.

Varicose veins are easy to see, especially when you stand up. If you have signs of a deep vein problem like DVT or plan to have treatment for spider veins or symptomatic varicose veins, you may need more tests, such as a vascular ultrasound exam.

We talked to Dr. Brian Strife about who may be at risk for varicose veins. “Varicose and spider veins may have a familial component or an inherited component,” said Dr. Strife. “We often take a family history when interviewing new patient to see if other members of their family suffer from abnormal or painful leg veins.”

Particular situations may also contribute to varicose vein risk. Dr. Strife continued, “Women who are postpartum may have an increased appearance of abnormal veins in the legs, as well as people who have an occupation that requires prolonged standing may be at risk of developing abnormal leg veins.”

Advanced age and obesity can also contribute to an increased risk for varicose veins. Varicose veins may also be a sign of a blockage in deeper veins called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious, sometimes deadly condition in which blood clots forming in your leg veins can break loose and move to your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism). It is always a good idea to talk to your physician if varicose veins appear.

The good news is that most insurers typically cover treatment of the more serious, symptomatic varicose veins. If your diagnosis indicates that you need a specific treatment, our staff will submit all relevant information to your insurance company for pre-authorization, or provide you with the approximate cost of treatment.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

What’s the difference between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

shutterstock_108879881

Unsightly leg veins, ranging from the blue splotches of spider veins to the thick, ropey and twisted dark varicose veins that can make standing and walking painful, have much in common. They’re unsightly. They can be painful. If left untreated, they can progress to serious health problems. They’re very common: 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women.

And, most important, varicose veins are treatable–with new, non-invasive procedures that are quick, virtually painless, and require little or no recovery time. Our vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins, from unsightly spider veins using new, gentle and highly effective treatments to the relief of more serious, painful and even dangerous major varicose veins.

For a quick guide to the difference, watch Dr. Strife’s video.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Spider veins are small, surface veins, which, while embarrassing, are relatively minor. Learn more about our advanced treatments for spider veins.

Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but are milder, involving the smaller veins just below the skin surface. Spider veins are more common among women of any age, and frequently appear during/after pregnancy or when gaining weight. The extra burden weakens the valves in the veins carrying blood back to the heart, so the blood pools and the veins swell. When only small, surface veins are affected, the result is spider veins, which can range from little patches to very large areas. They generally do not bulge or cause pain.

To treat more serious varicose vein problems, we offer several effective and minimally invasive solutions. After diagnosis, we will discuss your options so you can choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Although effective, no varicose vein treatment, whether surgical or minimally – invasive, can prevent new varicose veins from developing in the future. Most health insurance plans cover treatment of significant symptomatic varicose veins, but some consider treatment of spider veins as cosmetic surgery. Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

 

 

Why now is the perfect time to get rid of your spider & varicose veins

baird fall leg vein treatment

Most people start to think about their spider or varicose veins right about the late springtime when the weather gets warm and they go to put on shorts for the first time of the year. That’s a natural reaction, but truthfully – right now – in the fall, is the very best time to have a procedure done on your leg veins.

We talked to Dr. Malcolm Sydnor about why you should consider having your leg veins treated now, instead of in the spring. “if you have spider or reticular veins on your legs, we will use a tiny needle in a process called sclerotherapy to inject those things to get rid of them.” Sclerotherapy involves using a tiny needle to inject individual spider veins with a solution that makes them shrink. As they shrink, blood is channeled to deeper veins, making the spider veins on the surface almost invisible. “Afterward,” he continued, “we are going to need you to stay out of the sun until those veins have totally resolved – otherwise you’re going to see pigmentation changes on the skin where those veins were.”

Dr. Sydnor continued, “If the sun hits those locations before they fully resolve, the blood cells that remain will release a pigment that you can see on your skin. It’s because of that reason that we like to perform the vast majority of cosmetic treatments retail for spider veins in the fall.”

“Other treatments such as endovenous thermal ablation, are not as affected by sun exposure because the vein is much farther under the skin,” he continued. Endovenous thermal ablation (EVTA) is an alternative to surgically removing varicose veins. The team uses ultrasound to guide a small catheter tipped with a laser or radio frequency emitter into the vein. The catheter delivers just enough laser or radio wave heat to cause the vein to close, collapse and seal shut, without affecting nearby tissue. The treated vein is absorbed by the body and disappears within a few months. EVTA not only treats your large varicose veins, but also eliminates many smaller unsightly ones.

Although we welcome patients any time of the year, ideally our physicians recommend a fall time frame so that the legs have plenty of time to heal before exposure to the warm summer sun.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options. You may decide that beautiful legs are worth it.

Can varicose veins come back?

Baird Varicose Veins come back

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large.

Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

But once treatment is done, can those veins come back? We talked to Dr. Malcom Sydnor about this issue. “If you’re undergoing a procedure to get rid of your varicose veins,” he said, “most likely you’re undergoing a procedure called endovenous thermal ablasion, which is an alternative to surgically removing varicose veins. The problem starts in the upper leg and goes down to the lower leg where it results in the surface vein you see.”

“Treatment starts with getting rid of the vein underneath that causes the problem to begin with,” continued Dr. Sydnor. “Then we do other therapies to get rid of the surface veins you actually see, and 93% of the time those veins stay away for good.”

However, Dr. Sydnor continued, “There are a small percentage of patients, about seven percent, that may see a recurrence. That happens when a new pathway of reflux, or backwards flow of blood occurs, and those patients may get a recurrence of some degree.

If you’d like to talk to us about your varicose veins, call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

 

3 nonsurgical ways to cover unsightly leg veins

Baird cover spider veins

Warm weather is here, and with it comes shorter hemlines, lighter fabrics and more skin showing. Unfortunately, 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women. If the unsightly veins on your legs embarrass you, there are a few natural remedies to help.

Makeup. Today, there are a number of high-quality makeup formulas designed to temporarily hide significant skin imperfections. These long lasting products can cover a variety of discolorations and irregularities such as scars, birthmarks, veins and even tattoos. Even your own makeup concealer can be used to cover small areas, but if you have larger areas to cover, there are products for that as well.

Self-tanners. We’ve talked about minimizing skin cancer risks here in the past, so we’re already big fans of any sunless tanning options. But did you know that sunless tanning products can also minimize the appearance of varicose and spider veins? Self-tanning creams and lotions can help cover scars and light veins, and even make skin dimples, cellulite and protruding veins less conspicuous. The bronzing reflects light and evens the overall skin tone and greatly improves appearance. Besides, who doesn’t love a little tan color for those summer picnics and events?

Stockings. Even though stockings are not the first option that comes to mind when you think of summer, you might want to think again. Today’s compression stockings offer a multitude of cute and fashionable options to wear with shorts and skirts. They look like regular knee-high socks, but offer coverage of any discolored or protruding leg veins, as well as the added benefits of compression for pain relief, improved circulation and slowing the progression of vein irregularity.

However, if you’re just simply tired of trying to find new ways to camouflage your embarrassing leg veins, give us a call and let’s see what we can do for you. Our vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins, from unsightly spider veins using new, gentle and highly effective treatments to the relief of more serious, painful and even dangerous major varicose veins. Our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists work hand in hand to treat patients with varicose using today’s most advanced technology and procedures, with your treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.