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Feature Article Varicose Veins: Not Just a "Grandma Thing"

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Painful, itchy or just unsightly, varicose veins are a common problem for adult men and women in the U.S. Although causes vary, one study published in the Annals of Epidemiology estimates that up to 73 percent of women and 56 percent of men suffer from varicose veins.

Some varicose veins are limited to an unattractive, purple, spidery patchwork across the skin. But bulging veins that cause pain, swollen limbs, leg heaviness and fatigue, and skin changes may be a symptom of venous reflux disease, a serious condition that can steadily worsen over time. In venous reflux disease, the valves that keep blood flowing in one direction through the veins, out of the legs and back to the heart, have become damaged or diseased. Instead, blood may flow both directions in the veins and pool in certain spots, which causes the swelling and discoloration in visible veins.

For mild cases of varicose veins, treatment options can include compression garments, reducing the amount of time spent standing, keeping legs elevated, increasing physical activity or losing weight. When these measures don’t work, surgery is the next step.

A study comparing common vein procedures was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and found all to be safe and effective. Vein specialists at Samaritan Health Services offer a proven, minimally invasive vein procedure.

While surgical vein stripping has been available for many years, the minimally invasive technique minimizes pain and bruising, and can be completed in a physician’s office.

Vein surgery is typically beneficial for all cases, including spider veins where the goal is improved appearance.

Varicose veins are common but treatable. Don’t suffer any longer.

Ready to learn more about varicose vein treatment options, visit samhealth.org/Legs or register to attend a free seminar in your area.