If you’ve developed varicose veins, treat them as early as possible. Left untreated, varicose veins can ulcerate, bleed or cause other complications. Most varicose vein procedures are done on an outpatient basis, and are minimally invasive.
Varicose veins are enlarged veins most often found in the feet and legs. These veins are gnarled and unsightly. Varicose veins may or may not cause pain. Spider veins are smaller, red or purplish veins related to varicose veins, most often appearing on the face and legs.
Varicose and spider veins occur more often in women than men, but between one-third and two-thirds of the population experience these vein issues. Those who work on their feet – hairdressers, retail and wait staff – and office workers who sit behind desks most of the day are at greatest risk. So are pregnant women, older and obese individuals. There’s also a genetic component, so varicose veins runs in some families.
In mild cases, wearing compression stockings, losing weight and frequent walking can lessen varicose and spider veins. Most pharmacies stock compression stockings, or you can order them from medical supply stores. Of course, taking long walks is also an effective way to shed pounds.
Varicose vein treatment typically consists of chemical sclerosis, also known as sclerotherapy. This procedure involves injecting a substance into the veins – with the consistency of shaving cream – that causes scarring and closing. The closing process takes between three to six weeks.
Laser therapy is another alternative, especially for spider veins. However, the treated area may develop blisters or the skin may change color, making it as noticeable as varicose or spider veins.
If varicose veins are causing pain or your doctor finds you at risk for serious complications, your insurance company may cover vein removal. If you want them removed for cosmetic purposes, you’ll have to pay the bill yourself. Spider vein removal is almost always a cosmetic procedure not covered by insurance.
If the varicose or spider vein issue is mild, try the stocking, exercise and diet regimen. If the situation doesn’t improve, or if your condition is more serious, contact your doctor. Just don’t put off treatment if there’s a problem. Nip those problem veins in the bud before a worst case scenario, such as a potentially fatal blood clot, occurs.
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