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.

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3 apples dressed as doctor with check more or X above their head

These 5 Simple Steps will help you find the Best Vein Specialist to treat your varicose veins or spider veins.

Finding a skilled vein doctor can make all the difference in the quality of care and treatment you receive. Venous insufficiency is a progressive disease. When left untreated it can worsen, and in some cases, lead to blood clots and ulcers. Treating your veins with a vein specialist early on is the best way to ensure the disease does not worsen.

1. Do Your Research

To get the results you want (no more veins!), a competent vein doctor must have:

  • Board certification in specialties like internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology.
  • Professional affiliations with other medical organizations.
  • At least 10 years of experience.

While not necessary, these additional credentials can assure you will receive the best possible care:

  • Holds accreditation by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL).
  • Number of procedures the doctor has performed
  • Additional training the doctor has, like cardiac care
  • Any medical publications or presentations

2. Get Recommendations

People generally feel most comfortable visiting a physician who is recommended by someone they know. Ask a family member, friend, or co-worker. You can also ask trusted healthcare professionals. Reach out to your primary care physician, dermatologist, or OBGYN for a referral.

For extra credit, you can read reviews on a vein specialist’s website or social channels to see what other patients experienced.

3. Get All of Your Questions Answered

It’s important to understand what’s happening in your body and what options you have to address the issues. Make sure you have enough time with an expert to get the answers to your questions. A free consultation is a great way to ask all your questions, understand what to expect, and learn how to plan accordingly. Here are some good questions to ask.

  • If unsure of diagnosis: What else could this be?
  • What are the treatment options for your condition?
  • What are the risks and benefits of each treatment option?
  • How long is the procedure?
  • Is sedation used?
  • Is it outpatient?
  • Is there downtime after the procedure?
  • What is the healing process like?
  • Will there be scarring?

Answers will vary based on your specific condition, health status, and overall needs. As long as the medical staff explains everything clearly, you’ll be ready to walk on the path to recovery.

peeled orange dressed as a woman on the computer researching doctor qualifcations

4. Think About Logistics

To commit yourself to the entire vein healing process, it’s important to make sure your vein specialist fits within your needs and lifestyle. Consider the following when looking for a vein doctor:

    • Multiple Locations or Primary Office. It should be close and convenient for you to visit in case you have more than one treatment.
    • Virtual Appointments. An at-home consultation to discuss your symptoms and make recommendations is convenient (especially due to the current COVID-19 pandemic).
    • Office Hours. Look at what days and times the doctor sees patients.
    • Languages. More offices are offering bilingual options, so check to see that it’s offered if you need to effectively communicate.
    • Online Portal. Many doctors now use email or an online portal to communicate with patients, which may be another item of importance for you when selecting a physician.
    • Medical Staff. Courteousness of scheduling, the professionalism of nurses, PA’s, techs, etc.
    • Insurance. Check with the doctor’s insurance representative to see if you can get coverage. Most major insurance companies will cover vein treatment. 

5. Follow Your Instinct

After you’ve done your research and asked your questions, go with what your gut tells you. At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable with the office you choose and confident that the doctor is qualified and cares for you and your overall health.

Today, patients have many options to find the best vein doctor. The internet and social media play a big part when choosing the right fit for your needs. When you do find a vein specialist that checks all the boxes, make sure you review or offer a recommendation so others can benefit. Help other patients locate good doctors by raving about the ones who deserve it.

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

venous insufficiency CEAP stagesVenous Disease is Complex But Can Be Described

So how does your vein doctor know the severity of your varicose veins? We use the Comprehensive Classification System for Chronic Venous Disorders (CEAP). And you can use it too!

Before CEAP, there wasn’t a method for healthcare professionals to classify vein disease. Instead, they would describe symptoms and rate them as mild, moderate, or severe. The approach wasn’t helpful and lacked specificity. Communication was often lacking between providers.

What the CEAP Acronym Stands For

C = clinical condition 

E = etiology

A = anatomic location 

P = pathophysiology

What is CEAP Classification?

The American Venous Forum wrote the first CEAP classification in 1994. It provides a comprehensive classification that’s accepted worldwide. Most published medical papers now use all or portions of the CEAP system. It has two parts: classification and severity scoring of lower extremity vein disease. CEAP classification ranges from C0 (no venous disease) to C6 (an open and active ulcer).

Today, all healthcare professionals use the CEAP system when describing vein disease. It’s designed to be very specific. In short, it offers everything that the previous system failed to do.

The 7 Stages of the CEAP Classification System

C0: A functioning, healthy venous system. Leg veins pulse blood back towards the heart exactly as they’re supposed to.

Severity: mild

C1: Presence of spider veins, reticular veins, or telangiectasia. By themselves, spider veins are nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance. But they do point out some level of reflux in the larger veins of the legs. They’re a direct precursor to varicose veins.

Severity: mild

C2: The formation of varicose veins. Patients begin to experience symptoms like achy legs, swelling, and cramping. This leads to increased pressure, which in turn causes surface veins to swell. Over time, they become stretched out and become varicose veins. Without treatment, it’s likely the condition with progress to the following stage.

Severity: moderate

C3: The presence of edema, a medical term for fluid retention and swelling. Compression stockings and edema pumps can manage symptoms. But treatment will help the underlying condition. A patient’s vein disease will worsen if not treated.

Severity: moderate to severe

C4: Visible skin changes. Fluid retention leads to changes in the color, texture, and appearance of the skin. The presence of eczema and brownish, purplish, or reddish blotches is common.

Severity: severe

C5: Painful ankle ulcers around the ankles that heal on their own. Chronic fluid retention will cause increased blood pressure within the leg veins. This can lead to an impaired circulation which can cause a breakdown of the overlying skin.

Severity: severe

C6: Lower extremity ulcers that don’t heal. About 1% of patients with vein disease will progress to CEAP stage 6. As the condition worsens ulcers won’t heal without specialty wound care. At this point, treatment is medically necessary. 

How Can I Classify Myself with CEAP?

Most people with varicose veins know they have bulging veins in their legs. The CEAP system will help them understand the severity of the varicose vein problem and seek the right treatment.

But when using CEAP, remember that it’s external observations of underlying health issues. A venous ultrasound scan can examine all the veins underneath. Without it, there is no full diagnosis.

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