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Varicose Veins


Varicosities, also known as varicose veins, is a common, often painful condition affecting nearly a quarter of adults in the United States. It is important to understand symptoms and potential complications regarding varicosities if you or a loved one has this condition.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and dilated due to excess blood. Usually, When blood travels to the heart, it typically flows past valves that prevent blood from flowing backward in the vein. When these valves fail to work as they should, blood collects in the veins, causing them to swell.

Typically, varicose veins occur in the legs, where the force of gravity makes upward blood flow the most difficult. The veins often become swollen and are visible along the skin, usually as red or blue lines. Varicose veins can also occur in the feet.

Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins

Although both varicose and spider veins can occur on the legs as the result of vein valves not operating properly, they are two different conditions. Spider veins develop closer to the surface of the skin while varicose veins occur in those veins located deep beneath the skin’s surface.

Spider veins are much thinner in appearance than varicose veins, and they occur in smooth clusters, while varicose veins are thick and occur in individual lines of single veins.

Causes and Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins have several potential causes that include:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Having a family history of varicose veins
  • Menopause
  • Standing for extended periods
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Blockage or blood clot
  • Existing kidney or heart disease

The primary symptoms of varicose veins, which are raised and misshapen veins in red or blue located typically on the legs, are often accompanied by one or more of the following early-stage varicose vein symptoms:

  • Aching or pain around the veins
  • A feeling of heaviness in the feet or legs
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Itching around affected veins
  • Leg cramps at night

Varicose vein symptoms may increase in intensity when standing or sitting for extended periods and improve when you raise your feet or lie down.

Complications of Varicose Veins

In some cases, varicose veins can result in serious complications. These include the formation of sores or ulcers on the skin, changes in skin color around the affected veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms in the vein.

It is important to know that varicose veins can also bleed, which is a serious medical emergency. If you notice this symptom, call 911 for immediate medical attention.

How Varicose Veins Are Diagnosed

phlebologists examination -Varicose veins on the womans legs close up

This condition is diagnosed with a physical examination of your legs. Your provider will also ask you questions about your lifestyle, family history, level of activity, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.

To check the health of your leg veins and blood flow, an x-ray or ultrasound may be ordered. A venogram also helps for ensuring vein health, as well as rules out other causes of varicose veins, such as a blockage or blood clot. The process involves the injection of a dye into the veins, followed by an x-ray.

Because varicose veins can occur in people with heart and kidney disease, you may also undergo testing for these conditions in addition to venous testing.

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are treatable using a variety of methods. Your provider’s suggestions for treatment will depend on the seriousness and severity of your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes – Making certain lifestyle changes can help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins, prevent existing veins from worsening, and prevent future varicose veins. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding standing for long periods can help with this condition.

Medication – For relief of pain and heaviness, your doctor may recommend medication or a compression garment to help the blood in your legs to flow properly. Compression socks or stockings are available in a range of pressure levels and can typically be found at your local medical supply or drugstore.

Surgery If your doctor has determined your condition to be of a more serious nature, they may recommend that you undergo surgery. Surgery may involve removing the affected veins completely or closing them with heat.

The majority of surgical procedures for varicose veins are both minimally invasive and only require a short period of recovery time.

Vascular Surgery at Crystal Run Healthcare

varicose veins, vascular surgery

Varicose veins can develop as the result of other health problems or medical conditions, such as heart or kidney disease. They will also worsen in appearance over time. As well, you may experience more intense symptoms as time goes on.

This condition may be able to be treated, reversed, or prevented with medication, lifestyle changes, or surgery. Whatever your experience, the vascular doctors and surgeons at Crystal Run Healthcare are fellowship-trained to provide you with the comprehensive care you need.

Personal, Dedicated Care

At Crystal Run, patients benefit from personally working with each dedicated vascular disease specialist on their team. Through these partnerships, patients are able to make and maintain lifestyle changes for long-term benefit to their vascular system health.

Complete Treatment for Cardiovascular Conditions

Patients with heart or kidney disease that also suffer from varicose veins receive diagnosis and treatment from a team consisting of cardiovascular surgeons, vascular specialists, nephrologists, and cardiologists. All of these medical professionals share their expertise through collaboration, resulting in complete and comprehensive treatment.

State-of-the-Art Surgery

Patients receiving care for their varicose veins at Crystal Run Healthcare also benefit from the most modern treatments and surgeries. Our vascular surgeons use the minimally invasive VNUS Closure procedure to seal varicose veins.

The procedure, complete in 30 minutes or less, uses heat to close affected veins and is far less painful than other methods, such as laser ablation.

Crystal Run Healthcare’s vascular surgery centers are located in Middletown and Rock Hill, New York. For more information about treatment for varicose veins, contact Crystal Run Healthcare at (845) 703-6999, or visit our website to send a message to our knowledgeable team.