It is estimated that at least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins, according to the Vascular Disease Foundation. It is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, yet many of those who are affected by varicose veins do not understand the severity of the disease. Varicose veins are thought of by many to be a strictly cosmetic issue that prevents you from wearing anything but pants or long skirts. Many people do not understand that these tortuous and dilated veins are the result of damage to the valves of the veins, most commonly in the legs. Although there may not be any symptoms initially, eventually the varicose veins will cause symptoms such as fatigue, pain, itching, cramping, swelling, and/or discoloration.
If the sight of the tortuous and dilated veins were not enough to get you into the doctor’s office, then the pain and fatigue will have you searching for the nearest vein clinic. Fortunately, with modern advances in technology, treatment of varicose veins has become an in-and-out outpatient procedure, often requiring one treatment which lasts less than one hour. Depending on the extent and severity of the varicose veins there are several different procedures readily available to treat them and improve symptoms immediately. One of the most recent procedures innovated for a varicose vein is Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT) which is a simple outpatient procedure that usually targets the largest varicose veins (commonly referred to as “trunks”). The laser emits energy which shrinks and seals the vein wall. Afterwards, the “healthy” veins will restore normal blood flow in the leg. The dilated veins at the skin surface (commonly referred to as the “branches”) that are connected to the treated varicose veins will shrink after the procedure, thus improving the patient’s symptoms.
It is important to understand the issues related to varicose veins as venous problems are considered to be among the most common chronic conditions in the United States. There are several risk factors for getting varicose veins including age, gender (females), heredity, and prolonged standing. Less physical activity, a higher blood pressure, and obesity have also been linked with the presence of varicose veins. So while varicose veins can’t simply be viewed as a cosmetic issue, they can be viewed as a very easily treatable medical issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later to avoid uncomfortable symptoms and potential complications. To learn more about varicose veins and treatment options available, visit the experienced, board-certified radiologists at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic in Rockford to get the information you need to make the right decision when it comes to venous problems.