orange leaf person wearing a winter hat looking at reasons for varicose veins in winterDo you have varicose veins, spider veins, or any other form of venous disease? If so, you know that the colder seasons can take a toll on your legs. So why do people experience leg pain due to cold weather? Today we’re going to explain what happens to your veins in the wintertime and how it affects their overall function.

Effects of Cold Weather on Your Veins

 

Believe it or not, cold weather can be beneficial to your veins in some ways. For example, the colder it gets, the less likely you are to suffer from swelling and pain in your ankles. This is because as our bodies heat up, we expand. And when circulation decreases as temperatures lower, these valves function better. This means fewer cramps or other discomforts.

 

Despite this, venous diseases usually come with more negatives than positives during the wintertime. Here are some of the inconveniences that pop up when it’s cold:

  • Circulatory Problems: When the temperatures drop enough for it to snow, the atmospheric pressure changes. Your circulatory system can become less efficient which aggravates vein problems.
  • Vein Constriction: Your body’s reaction to cold weather is to protect your internal temperature. Veins constrict and blood rushes to your organs, conserving their warmth. This is why your fingers and toes feel so cold in the winter.
  • Dry Skin: Dry winter air can irritate the skin on your legs. Rashes, dryness, itchiness, bleeding, and even ulcerations can occur around your veins. This can cause even more discomfort to your venous condition. 
  • Weight Gain​: Gaining a few extra pounds is common during the holiday months. This can put more stress on your legs to pump blood back to your heart. So despite the cold weather, try to workout often and keep the weight off.
  • Decreased Exercise: Another reason to stay active is to keep the valves pumping blood through our veins. When we’re sedentary, our ability to sustain efficient blood flow is limited. Moving, walking, cycling, and running can help keep venous insufficiency under control.
thermometer showing how temperature affects your vein health

How to Maintain Vein Health in Winter

 

Here are a few ways to keep the symptoms of venous diseases in check during the colder months:

  • Elevate your legs for 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
  • Eat high-fiber foods like avocados, beans, and berries for good circulation.
  • Try some light stretching in the morning, midday, and before bed.
  • Massage your ankles and lower legs when possible.
  • Apply lotion to your legs to prevent skin and vein irritation. 
  • Focus on exercises that workout your legs.

See a Vein Specialist

 

If you are experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins or other venous conditions, there is no need to suffer. As soon as a vein has become damaged, repair it with immediate medical attention. Seeking help will give your legs back their youthful appearance and prevent future complications.

Filed under: Vein HealthTagged 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.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein Health, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , , ,
Paying for vein treatment
Getting rid of spider veins or varicose veins can seem like a daunting task. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, compression stockings, or non-invasive procedures.
 
Before you even consider making a doctor’s appointment, you may have a lot of questions like:
  • What treatments are available?
  • Does insurance cover it?
  • And of course, how much is it going to cost?
Let’s dive into pricing and insurance for spider veins and varicose vein treatment.

Common Vein Removal Treatments and Their Cost

How much it will cost to finally say goodbye to painful, unwanted veins for good?
 
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer because different procedures have different costs. Let’s break down the price tags associated with each.
  • What is it? A common treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. The vein is injected with a solution that breaks down the vein walls.
  • Does insurance cover it? No. It’s considered cosmetic.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a sclerotherapy treatment is about $350. The provider’s fee and geographic location will affect the cost.
  • What is it? Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to treat varicose veins and patients with venous insufficiency. A catheter is inserted into the vein and delivers a high-frequency current to collapse it.
  • Does insurance cover it? Vein ablations for varicose veins are covered by most insurance plans. You will need to check your plan’s coverage as you may be responsible for a portion depending on your plan.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a vein ablation is about $1500-$2000 per vein out of pocket.

What Can Affect the Cost of Vein Procedures?

  • Medical versus Cosmetic: If you have a medical diagnosis of vein disease, your insurance may cover treatment. You still may be responsible for your copay or deductible depending on your plan. If it’s purely cosmetic, insurance will not cover it. 
  • The Number of Treatments: The reality is, you may need more than one treatment to get the best results. It can require up to four depending on the severity of your veins.

Insurance That May Cover Vein Removal Treatment

Medicare, most HMOs, and other major insurance plans will cover vein treatment if medically necessary. You may need to get prior authorization before the procedure. In most cases, your doctor’s office will get the necessary authorizations for you. Find out what insurance plans we take.
 

How to Identify Your Insurance Coverage

The best way to find out if vein treatment is covered by your insurance plan is to call. Give them detailed information about what treatment you need. You may need the provider’s information and procedure code, which you can get from the doctor’s office that is going to do the procedure.
 

What to Do if the Procedure Isn’t Covered

If your insurance does not cover the vein procedure, you may be able to pay out of pocket. You can also set up a payment plan with your doctor’s office or apply for Health Care financing through Care Credit.

Why Vein Procedures Are Worth It

Remember, paying for spider or varicose vein treatment is an investment in yourself. It continues to prove worthwhile to a growing number of our patients.
 
There will be no more leg pain or discomfort. You can get back to activities you love and show off your vein-free legs!
Filed under: Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , ,