Does your mother have bluish veins twisting and turning on the surface of her legs? As we age, the appearance of varicose veins is much more common especially in women. In-fact, recent data shows that varicose veins affect more than 22 million women over 40 in the US. The force of gravity overpowers the valves in the veins that are intended to guide blood flow from your body’s tissues to your heart. As they become damaged, the veins become misshapen and blood often pools in the lower legs, causing an achy pain and other issues.Family matters
Although there are several contributing factors, heredity is a strong predictor of varicose veins. Studies have shown that 85% of patients who have varicose veins have a genetic predisposition. If both of your parents have varicose veins, the likelihood that you will also have them is even higher.
While many believe that varicose veins are purely cosmetic and have no bearing on your overall health, we know now that this is untrue. Left untreated, varicose veins will only get worse. As the uncirculated blood pools in the damaged veins, it has nowhere to go; it can become increasingly painful and could possibly form ulcers or rupture. People who have varicose veins are also at greater risk to develop related circulatory issues and superficial thrombophlebitis, or deep vein thrombosis (which can be life threatening).
If your varicose veins are mild, your doctor may first recommend wearing specially-designed compression stockings and making lifestyle changes, such as incorporating specific exercises, losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding standing for long periods of time, wearing tight clothes, and high heeled-shoes.
The good news, for you and your mother, is that most varicose veins can be completely eliminated through a non-invasive, outpatient procedure. A vein specialist can use an ultrasound to study the blood flow in your veins and close off the affected vein at the point it connects to your circulatory system. Once the vein is absorbed into your system, it is gone forever.
To be fair, you should be aware that other veins may become damaged in the same way, but they too can be treated and eliminated. And, in most cases, this treatment is covered by health insurance.
If you or your mother have varicose veins, come see our vein experts at Illinois Vein Specialists. Our board-certified vein specialists have helped more than 10,000 patients in the last decade. Don’t wait! Take the first step toward improving your health today.
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McGuckin M, Waterman R, Brooks J, Cherry G, Porten L, Hurley S, Kerstein MD. Validation of venous leg ulcer guidelines in the United States and United Kingdom. Am J Surg 2002 February;183(2):132-7.