Varicose veins are often misunderstood as simply a cosmetic issue, but they can cause real symptoms and are reflective of advanced venous disease. Healthy leg veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing upwards from the legs to the heart. Vein disease develops when the valves stop working properly and allow blood to flow backward and pool in the lower leg veins causing dilated, distended and bulging veins.
- Signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Aching or pain
- Heaviness or tiredness
- Skin changes
- Brown, colored skin
- Open sores or ulcers
With those symptoms, it can be difficult to engage in hobbies like gardening or other activities that require prolonged periods of standing. More than one-third of people over the age of 45 are affected, with these factors leading to increased risk:
- Family history
- Lack of exercise
- Leg injury or trauma
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Obesity or excess weight
- Current or previous pregnancies
The good news is that varicose veins can be treated with minimally invasive treatments such as endovenous ablation. After demonstrating that conservative therapy such as compression socks have failed to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins, most insurances will cover the cost of the procedure. Recovery is quick with little or no down time. After treatment, people can often resume their normal activities and experience relief from their symptoms within days.
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