Veins that are twisted, enlarged and often dark blue or green in color are what we refer to at Carolina Vein Associates as varicose veins. These veins are near or raised above the surface of the skin, usually in the lower half of the body. Varicose veins are often a symptom of an underlying and persistent condition called venous insufficiency. During your consultation with Dr. Hansen, he will assess the condition of your veins, the severity of the condition and offer specialized treatments to target the issue. Deep vein disease categorized by deep vein thrombosis (DVT) should be diagnosed as soon as possible to avoid embolism or further difficulty with mobility.
The Course of Healthy Veins
In healthy veins, one-way valves direct the flow of the venous blood upward and inward to the primary source of blood movement, the heart. Blood is collected in these small superficial veins, unsupported by surrounding tissue, and flows into the larger veins within strong muscle layers. The blood eventually passes through valves and into the deep veins, then centrally to the heart and lungs. When blood flows in the correct direction without interruption or change of pace, oxygen can course through the body as needed. Without consistent and cyclical blood flow, all internal organs and tissues of the body are deprived of oxygen and cannot perform at optimal levels. Clear and healthy veins determine normal blood flow. We teach our patients at Carolina Vein Associates the importance of healthy veins since circulation is the key to life.
When Veins Become Insufficient
When one or more valves within the veins fail to function correctly, excess blood flows down the legs in the reverse direction. The blood tends to accumulate and distend the branches of the superficial veins under the skin. These veins closest to the surface of the skin are unequipped to counterbalance high pressure from the backflow of blood. Over time these stressed veins bulge, stretch and become visible. These swollen, engorged or rope-like veins are iconic and called varicose veins. The valves inside varicose veins no longer close, allowing blood to leak back down the leg causing further distension of the vein. The issue with varicose veins is that the offset pressure and damage created within one portion of these veins can affect other surrounding branches over time. At Carolina Vein Associates, Dr. Hansen works to reduce vein insufficiency by restoring balance to the venous system, closing off these veins no longer able to support blood flow.
Causes of Varicose Veins:
- Weight gain
- Reduced activity
- Lack of dietary fiber
- Extended standing or sitting
- Diminishing muscle strength in lower body
Varicose Vein Statistics
Varicose veins affect approximately 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men making up 30 percent of the US population. While those over the age of 50 years suffer from vein conditions based on inheritance and inactivity, younger people can also be affected. Superficial veins unable to transport blood effectively become varicose. The deep venous system and the usual channels for blood flow carry 90 percent of all blood volume, so these varicose veins are not effectively contributing to your overall circulation.
Summary of Varicose Veins Symptoms:
- Itching skin or ulcers at the ankles
- Pain when walking, sitting or standing over time
- Elevation of the legs reduces leg pain
- Restless limbs
- Swelling and discoloration in the legs
If left untreated, severe varicose veins can ultimately lead to chronic leg swelling, eczema-type symptoms, skin thickening and discoloration, and even ulcerations that won’t heal until the veins are treated. As you talk with Dr. Hansen about varicose veins, it’s important that you understand the condition can become worse without treatment. It is best to remove the affected vein and treat it as soon as you are able. Once we reduce affected veins and obstacles they present to healthy blood flow, healthy veins will take over and circulation ultimately improves.
Varicose Vein Treatments at Carolina Vein include:
- Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Foam sclerotherapy
After each treatment patients may be asked to wear compression stockings to support the legs, but these must be prescribed by the doctor in post-treatment sessions.
Carolina Vein Associates in North Carolina is a premier varicose vein treatment center helping patients from Mooresville, Lake Norman, and Charlotte. Call today to schedule your free vein consultation at (704) 684-4511.