Exhausted Legs? Could Be Time For A Varicose Vein Screening
Especially if you're on your feet a lot, it can be tempting to dismiss fatigue or feelings of heaviness in the legs as a normal consequence of your daily routine. Instead, take the hint from your body and pay attention. Persistent discomfort that's concentrated in the legs may be the first sign of a condition called venous reflux.
When the valves in the veins no longer function correctly, venous reflux causes blood to pool rather than pass normally through the blood vessels. This pooling presents as varicose veins, the swollen blood vessels that appear most commonly in the legs.
A Treacherous Dilemma
Before you shrug off varicose veins as a cosmetic issue, consider this: Improper circulation in the legs causes progressively more serious conditions if left untreated, such as changes to the color and texture of the surrounding skin, skin ulcers, chronic swelling in the legs, and even deep vein thrombosis.
What's more, the problem is getting worse nationwide. A recent study in the Journal of Vascular Surgery found that up to 30 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, while only 1.9 million seek treatment each year.
Treatment Is Safe & Effective
Thankfully, treatment options for varicose veins are simple and nonsurgical. In radiofrequency ablation, for example, the physician inserts a tiny catheter into the vein and applies a burst of radiofrequency energy, which causes the vein to shrink. Similarly, endovenous laser ablation applies targeted pulses of heat energy through a laser fiber inserted into the vein, causing the vein to collapse painlessly.
Both procedures create a closure effect, preventing blood from pooling and forcing the circulatory system to reroute the blood flow through healthy veins. Treatment on one leg can be completed in just an hour.
Find A Free Screening
The first step to tackling the problem is seeking out a varicose vein screening with physicians who could then work with you to develop a vein treatment plan. When you research physicians who provide varicose vein screening, look for a certification from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Vascular Testing (IAC Vascular Testing). The IAC Vascular Testing sets the standards and guidelines for all vascular testing. Fox Valley Plastic Surgery, for example, is an accredited practice that offers screenings for varicose veins about once every 6 weeks, in either Appleton or Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
What About Spider Veins?
Spider veins are often mentioned alongside varicose veins because they often develop in tandem on the legs, although spider veins can also appear elsewhere as a result of poor circulation. Like varicose veins, spider veins are visible through the skin. Spider veins are dilated capillaries, the tiny, thin blood vessels that connect the smallest arteries to the smallest veins and aid in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and tissue cells.
Unlike varicose veins, though, spider veins are usually harmless. If desired, cosmetic vein treatments such as sclerotherapy can reduce the appearance of spider veins by injecting a solution that causes the veins to collapse, similar to the closure effect of ablation on varicose veins.
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