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Varicose veins: more than a cosmetic issue

Riddle Hospital April 2, 2014 General Wellness

Colder weather and long pants or skirts can bring relief for anyone with varicose and spider veins, a medical condition in which veins become visible enlarged on the hands and feet. For many men and women, however, this is more than just a cosmetic concern. Some people can experience pain or other health issues as a result of varicose veins.

“What some people don’t realize is that varicose veins can sometimes be a very painful experience for a patient,” explains David Bigatel, MD, vascular surgeon at Riddle Hospital. “Just a few of the associated symptoms are cramping and swelling, and pain after sitting or standing for a long period of time. That can be an inconvenience and very uncomfortable for someone day in and day out.”

Besides coping with everyday pain, Dr. Bigatel also says that patients with a case of varicose veins, in some rare cases, can lead to more serious health issues like blood clots and ulcers, the latter of which typically occur near the ankle, where fluid can build up over time.

Even though most cases of varicose veins won’t cause pain, it’s important to know that if you do experience pain, there’s help available. Depending on the severity of your pain and your health history, your doctor may recommend you try self-care treatments first, like wearing compression stockings, which will help move blood through your legs more efficiently.

If self-care treatments aren’t solving the problem, there are other varicose vein treatments available and, thanks to new technology, most are minimally-invasive and can generally be treated on an outpatient basis.

“Treating varicose veins is typically a relatively simple procedure, “says Dr. Bigatel. “Depending on your treatment method, there may be a series of visits to the doctor to have the entire treatment completed, but in very few cases does involve a surgical procedure.”

Although most procedures will eliminate or reduce your varicose veins and the pain associated with them, there is still a chance that the condition can recur. To prevent varicose veins from coming back, or from happening to you at all, try exercising, watching your weight, avoiding high heels, and changing your sitting or standing position regularly if possible.

No matter what your reason is for wanting to get rid of your spider or varicose veins, we can help. Join Riddle Hospital for an upcoming series of varicose vein screenings by vascular specialists, who can recommend treatment options. Screenings are free, but registration is required. Visit our website to register for an upcoming varicose vein screening.