Lower foot and ankle with dry skin, ulcers, and swellingAbout 20 million Americans live with undiagnosed and untreated varicose veins. If you’re one of them, it’s time to take action.

One of the greatest dangers of varicose veins is that they’re slow and silent. Many people with the condition don’t experience any symptoms at all, even though their veins are damaged and affecting the cells and tissues around them.

Are you one of these people?

Are You At Risk for Developing Varicose Veins?

You may be more likely to develop the condition if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are inactive
  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of varicose veins
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Sit or stand for long periods of time

Signs of Untreated Varicose Veins

While clear signs of varicose veins may develop slowly over time, the condition will cause painful, uncomfortable symptoms like: 

  • Achy, heavy legs
  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling
  • Itching 
  • Skin discoloration 
  • Pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time

Whether you’re experiencing these symptoms or not, untreated varicose veins can pose some potential major health risks that could leave you in pain, hospitalized, or in severe cases, death.

When to Worry About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins damage an essential system in your body: the blood vessels. The consequences of untreated varicose veins can be very serious, and some can eventually be fatal. They include:

leg illustration with a blot clot on the calf1. Blood Clots

When you have varicose veins, your blood is unable to cycle back through correctly to your heart and pools in the lower body, usually the legs. This creates “stagnant blood flow”. There are two types of blood clots: superficial blood clots (or phlebitis), and deep vein clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 

Clots in deep veins can travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing potentially life-threatening issues like a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. This is one of the most serious health risks associated with untreated varicose veins.

If you experience signs of a deep or superficial blood clot, don’t ignore it! A thorough examination, including a leg ultrasound and treatment, can help prevent a blood clot from enlarging and becoming potentially lethal. 

leg illustration of a burst and bleeding ulcer 2. Bleeding

Some experience bleeding when varicose veins close to the surface of the skin burst. While this isn’t usually a very serious health risk it’s important to seek medical assistance and treatment so it doesn’t continue. If a varicose vein does bleed stop the bleeding quickly by doing the following:

  • Elevate Your Leg: Lie down flat and raise the leg high. You can use a few pillows for support. 
  • Apply Pressure: Place a clean cloth or towel on the bleeding area and apply firm pressure, for at least 10 minutes.

If the bleeding is heavy or doesn’t stop, see a doctor immediately.

leg illustration with an ulcer on the lower leg

3. Ulcers

About 70 percent of leg ulcers are caused by vein problems, specifically venous insufficiencySymptoms include swelling, rashes, and brown discoloration on the affected areas. This debilitating condition can cause people to not only miss work but also miss out on life. Imagine living with daily dressing changes, chronic drainage, or the foul smell that can accompany a leg ulcer.

Unfortunately, many suffer from leg ulcers for years before they see a doctor about it. Today’s treatments can help ulcers heal and stay healed.

leg illustration of leathery, darkening of the skin

4. Lipodermatosclerosis (Leathery Skin) 

Varicose veins are a key symptom of an illness called Lipodermatosclerosis (LDS). Those suffering from this disease often experience pain, hardening of the skin, changes in skin color, swelling, and tapering of legs above the ankles. 

LDS is a medical condition that actually means “scarring of the skin and fat.” It’s described as a skin and connective tissue disease. If left untreated, lipodermatosclerosis can lead to a chronic venous leg ulcer which is very difficult to heal. LDS also severely limits a person’s ability to walk or run, and can adversely affect his or her overall health. 

Read about a similar symptom called Hemosiderin Staining

Treat Your Varicose Veins Today

These complications sound scary — and they are. Fortunately, treating your varicose veins can help prevent many of these secondary problems, or at least manage them if they’ve already developed. 

If you or a loved one suffer from leg swelling, rashes or ulcers, see a vein specialist as soon as you can. If you don’t have symptoms but do have the risk factors for varicose veins, see a doctor. A simple ultrasound test will determine whether you have varicose veins or not. 

Don’t wait. With your varicose veins treated, you’ll feel better — and you’ll live a longer, healthier life with fewer complications.

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a free virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,

Delaware state person relaxing on beach chair under the sunIf you’ve found this little corner of the internet, then you’re searching for reasons why you might have spider veins in your 20s or 30s.

It’s true that getting spider veins at this age is pretty early (and alarming!). But don’t fret–there’s an explanation for this that may be remedied by simple lifestyle changes.

Let’s get into how you can diminish those broken blood vessels and prevent more from forming.

WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?

Spider veins are smaller and closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins. They can be bright red or blue, with jagged, short lines, resembling spider webs (hence the name).

Spider veins are typically the result of backup blood or broken capillaries.

WHAT CAUSES PREMATURE SPIDER VEINS TO FORM?

Let’s review why spider veins might show up in your 20s or 30s:

  • SUN EXPOSURE: UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can inflame blood vessels and draw them closer to the skin, especially those with fair skin.
  • HORMONE CHANGES: Female hormone changes from pregnancy or birth control can weaken vein walls. As estrogen levels rise, blood levels increase, putting pressure on your veins and causing them to break.
  • BLOOD PRESSURE: An intense sneeze or vomiting can cause a change in blood pressure, which can break the capillaries.
  • INACTIVITY: Occupations that require long periods of sitting or standing can put you at higher risk for developing spider veins.
  • GENETICS: A family history of blood clots or varicose veins can put you at higher risk.
  • FAIR SKIN: Very fair skin can make your veins more visible, causing your skin to look flushed and red.
  • ALCOHOL: Drinking alcohol can cause the veins to fill with more blood, making spider veins visible.
  • HIGH HEELS: Wearing high heels can minimize the range of motion in your foot and ankle. As a result, your calf muscle can’t properly pump the blood back up through your veins.

Delaware state person relaxing on beach chair under the sun explaining sun damage leads to inflammation which leads to spider veins

PREVENTING SPIDER VEINS

Thankfully, there are many lifestyle changes young people can make to either prevent or treat the appearance of spider veins.

Consider these tips and remedies for preventing spider veins in your 20s and 30s:

  • Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses
  • Avoid extreme heat from hot showers, saunas, or beaches
  • Get regular physical activity to get your blood circulating
  • Maintain a healthy weight

WORRIED ABOUT SPIDER VEINS? ADD THIS TO YOUR TO-DO LIST

There are a few treatments to consider, depending on the severity of your spider veins and how much they bother you. It’s a good idea to get your veins checked out by a certified vein specialist to determine what’s best for you.

Here are some options to consider:

  • SCLEROTHERAPY: This is the most common and effective medical procedure for treating spider veins. A chemical is injected into your veins that blocks blood flow. It may take more than one round of treatment to address a vein.
  • LASER TREATMENT: The second most common spider vein reduction treatment involves applying strong surges of light to the affected area, causing the spider vein to fade away. The advantage to this procedure is that there are no incisions or needles involved. However, it may not be as effective as sclerotherapy. Redness, swelling, and skin discoloration are common side effects.

Spider veins are purely a cosmetic concern, but many people still find their lives affected by them, especially when in their 20s and 30s. If they affect your quality of life, it’s worth looking into treating them, especially since they will progress if you don’t make some lifestyle changes to address your symptoms.

 

Delaware state character riding a bike toward healthier veinsAt Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a free virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Spider VeinsTagged with: , ,
person holding leg with varicose veins
Varicose veins are like snowflakes. They are as unique to patients as the treatments are to fix them.
Often considered a cosmetic issue, varicose veins are a medical condition called venous insufficiency. And they can be quite painful if not treated. Here’s how to ease the discomfort. 
 

What is Venous Insufficiency?

The cause of venous insufficiency is malfunctioning vein valves. They can’t push blood from the legs back up to your heart, causing the blood to pool in the legs.
Venous insufficiency symptoms include:
  • Heaviness in your legs 
  • Pain/cramping
  • Swelling
  • Restless legs
  • Discoloration

How to Relieve Varicose Vein Pain

If you find yourself in pain from your varicose veins, you should seek treatment with a vein specialist. But here are some options to ease the discomfort at home:

1. Elevate Your Legs. Lie them on a table, lean them up against a wall, or rest them on three to four pillows. This allows the blood to flow toward the heart. Stay in the position for at least 15 minutes. It will reduce swelling and ease discomfort!

2. Move and Stretch Your Legs. Flex your feet, especially during long trips when your legroom is limited. If you have to sit or stand all day, change position every 30 minutes and your bend knees.

3. Hydrate. Proper hydration supports healthy blood circulation. Try drinking a glass of water before each meal and eating food with high water content

4. Use Cold Water. Shower your legs with cold water. Cool temperatures cause blood vessels to shrink, which reduces swelling and feelings of heaviness.

Still in Pain? See a Doctor

If your varicose vein pain symptoms progress, worsen or don’t go away, see a vein specialist. They can offer a treatment plan based on your symptoms. There are several non-invasive procedures to help ease your pain for good.

Delaware state character riding a bike toward healthier veinsAt Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Varicose VeinsTagged with: ,

Delaware State caricature sitting on blocks thinking "Should I See a Vein Doctor?"Your veins play an important role. They move blood and transport nutrients throughout your entire body. 

So if your veins don’t work properly, your body is in serious trouble. Symptoms may include itching, aching, and swelling in the legs as well as varicose veins. 

You can relieve the discomfort and avoid those problems before they get worse by seeing a vein specialist.  

There are 3 things you can do beforehand to make the visit as streamlined as possible.

1. Do a Vein Health Self-Assessment 

Ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you have vein disease: 

  1. Have you ever suffered from spider or varicose veins?
  2. Have you had a stroke, heart attack, or other pulmonary issues? 
  3. Has anyone in your family suffered from vein disease, spider, or varicose veins? 
  4. Do you sit or stand for long periods of time? 
  5. Have you experienced any of the following: 
    • swelling or throbbing 
    • heavy leg
    • skin discoloration
    • itchy or burning legs
    • cramping or aching
    • difficulty moving

If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, it’s time to see a doctor. Your symptoms could be related to venous insufficiency–a condition when the valves in your legs are not working properly.

2. Book a Vein Screening

A vein screening is an educational consultation about vein health and disease.

During your screening, a vascular technician will ask you questions related to your veins, health, and any issues you’re experiencing. The technician will explain why you’re experiencing problems and guide you in choosing the best treatment option for your specific needs.

3. Get Tested for Vein DiseaseApple caricature dressed as a doctor talking to Delaware caricature sitting on a table

Once you’ve decided it’s time to see a doctor, call your nearest vein specialist to schedule an ultrasound. This test will help your physician detect the underlying source of your vein issues. 

The procedure, known as duplex ultrasound, involves harmless sound waves used to create an image of the veins and evaluate the blood flow through them. 

This procedure does not require any special preparation and involves no discomfort, anesthesia, or downtime.

Prevent Future Health Complications 

The vein screening and ultrasound help physicians take preventative measures for patients who may be at risk of developing blood clots and other life-threatening conditions. From there, you’ll book a consultation with a vein specialist to discuss procedure options. Don’t play the guessing game, schedule an appointment to take the first steps to healthier veins. 

 

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a free virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Vein Doctor, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,

laser and iv needle inserting a vein

It’s the eternal struggle of vein removal – the debate between sclerotherapy or laser.

 

Both treatments are effective with minimal side effects, but they do have advantages and disadvantages alike.

But what’s easier and better for your veins? Let’s take a look at both methods for treating spider veins:

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical treatment for spider veins. The doctor injects a chemical, called a sclerosant into a vein, causing it to collapse and dry out. The vein gets reabsorbed by the body and disappears.

Sclerotherapy is best for superficial spider veins on the legs and hands. It’s less expensive, faster, and more effective than laser treatment. Sclerotherapy is also better for people with darker skin. Lasers produce light that can cause discoloration in people with tanned skin.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment for spider veins is more expensive. and perceived as more painful. But laser treatments are considered the best way to treat spider veins on the face. There are several types of laser treatments: 

IPL: Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments are non-invasive and chemical-free. It involves directing light at the veins from outside the skin. IPL or surface laser treatments take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the extent of the area. The most common side effect is a temporary purple skin pigmentation that looks like bruising. There can also be some temporary redness, swelling or blistering.

Surface Laser Therapy: Your doctor can treat small-to-medium varicose veins with a laser through the skin, much like with spider veins. Different kinds of lasers can penetrate the skin and reach the veins. The skin is cooled to avoid burning, but patients still report more pain than sclerotherapy.

Endovenous Laser Therapy: Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) is an effective treatment for larger varicose veins. A laser probe is inserted directly into the vein. As the probe is withdrawn, the intense heat from the laser cauterizes the vein from the inside, causing it to collapse. A single EVLT procedure is more effective than sclerotherapy, which requires multiple sessions.

char that shows the uses for sclerotherapy and laser therapy for veins

The Choice is Up to You and Your Vein Doctor

Both treatments get rid of pesky spider veins and leave your skin looking smooth. And many patients have both types of vein problems and both types of treatment may be recommended.

The choice of treatment often depends on the location of the veins. Sclerotherapy is better for treating larger varicose veins, especially those on the legs, while laser therapy suits thinner veins on other parts of the body. Sometimes it may need a combination approach to get the best results.

Be sure to talk to your vein doctor to choose the treatment that is most effective and most comfortable for you. The best method for you may be different from that of someone else with the same vein problems. That’s why it’s important to choose an experienced vein specialist for medical advice. He or she can take into account your condition and your unique individual needs.

 

 

Delaware State riding a bicycle to healthier veinsAt Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,

Brown-stained legs magnified to show blood leaking out of veins just under the skinDo you have any concerns about your legs turning a reddish-brown color? This could be an indication that the veins in question are suffering from hemosiderin staining and potential problems with their health.

As we get older, it’s normal for our skin to thin, dry out, and lose elasticity. But it can be more concerning when you notice unusual changes in color and texture on your knees, legs, or ankles. If you notice a brown discoloration on the lower legs, it could point out a problem with your veins. For this reason alone, it’s important to understand why brown skin stains appear and what you can do to treat them.

What Is Hemosiderin Staining?

Hemosiderin Staining occurs when red blood cells leak through the veins and Iron or other byproducts are released. The brown stain shows up on the skin as a result of this symptom, which can happen for several reasons.

What Causes Hemosiderin Staining?

Chronic Vein Disease

In addition to its unsightly appearance, Hemosiderin Staining indicates an underlying health condition. The reddish-brown discoloration on the lower legs is caused by chronic venous disease–the abnormal function of veins.

When your veins can’t pump blood back up to the heart properly, it pools in your lower legs. Symptoms start with slight skin irritations and itchiness, then manifest varicose veins. Other vein disease symptoms that can lead to brown staining are:

  • High Blood Pressure – Veins force blood through the veins and sometimes through the skin.
  • Vein Ulcers – Slow-healing or non-healing wounds.

As blood continues to pool in the veins, its cells break down and leak iron pigments into the skin. Over time, this shows up as brown patches or stains on the lower leg or ankle. When unaddressed, the stain will darken and eventually may turn black. At this point, these symptoms are unfortunately permanent even when vein disease is treated. BUT! If caught early enough, chronic venous disease can be controlled and Hemosiderin staining will fade.

orange personified as a person with brown-red stains on her legs, shows how it is caused by sclerotherapy needle

Sclerotherapy Staining Side-Effect

Sclerotherapy is one of the treatment options for vein disease and varicose veins. It involves the injection of a substance known as a sclerosant into the affected veins. This makes the veins reduce in size.

In some cases, this treatment may leave the patient with brown skin discoloration as a result of hemosiderin (iron) deposits. This discoloration is usually transient and disappears in a couple of weeks; however, in some people, the stain ends up being permanent.

If you are considering sclerotherapy treatment, consider the following factors that are associated with the Hemosiderin Staining side effect:

  • Dark Skin Type
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Older Patients with Fragile Veins
  • Taking Certain Medication
  • Experience of the Vein Doctor

Treating the Condition, NOT the Symptom

Most patients will go to a dermatologist or primary care physician for the skin condition, not the underlying vein disease of hemosiderin staining. As a result, they may not get an accurate diagnosis.

If you have brown skin discoloration on the knees, lower legs, or ankles, make an appointment with a vein specialist as this could be early signs of vein disease…especially if accompanied by achy, heavy, and swollen legs.

Early treatment of your vein disease may help lighten the brown stains caused by Hemosiderin Staining, and even keep them from getting darker. Once diagnosed, the goal is to reroute the blood to healthier veins and fade unwanted veins, stains, and pains. The sooner you treat your vein condition, the better you’ll feel and the fewer complications you’ll experience.

 

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a free virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,