“My child asked me what was wrong with my legs.”
Vein disease is embarrassing when a child or friend comments about your legs. In fact many of you hide your legs never wearing shorts or a dress. For many it is the visible changes that cause you to seek treatment. These changes include:
- Bulging varicose veins
- Feathery spider veins
- Skin discoloration
- Thickened skin
- Skin ulcers
It is important to understand that because a vein is visible does not necessarily make it unhealthy. As veins are exposed to reflux or reversal of flow when standing or sitting (gravity) they become diseased. Vein Disease like varicose veins can lead to the other changes of chronic vein insufficiency or (CVI) like swelling, skin discoloration, blood clots and skin ulcers.
Exposure of the superficial veins to the increased pressure of reflux damages the vessels creating varicose veins and spider veins.
The difference between spider and varicose veins is the size of the vessel.
- Spiders veins are 1 mm in size
- Reticular varicose veins are 1 to 3 mm
- Varicose veins are greater than 3 mm
The vessel size and depth beneath the skin determine if the vein appears to be red, green, or blue. Most clusters of spider veins are being fed by underlying veins.
You may wonder what causes varicose veins to become tortuous. When exposed to increased venous pressure the superficial veins elongate. The elongated veins then fold upon themselves and appear tortuous.
If you have visible spider veins and bulging varicose veins even a child can see them. However, you can have vein disease with subtle symptoms and no visible varicose or spider veins. These symptoms may include heavy and tired legs, swelling at the end of a long day, and night leg cramps. The problem with vein disease is that if untreated it is chronic and progressive even when you have no outward visible signs.
I believe that information is empowering. Vein disease is under diagnosed and undertreated and this knowledge can prevent you from becoming a statistic. You don’t have to be embarrassed by varicose and spider veins any longer. Your phlebologist (physician who specializes in the treatment of varicose and spider veins) can identify the unhealthy veins with a simple office exam and ultrasound.
Visit our office in Macon, if you live in the state of Georgia or call (800) 764-3280 to register for our next FREE screening.
Leading phlebology organizations the American College of Phlebology and the American Venous Forum promote research in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose and spider veins. As a result of this research there is good news with new minimally invasive procedures for correction of varicose and spider veins. Contact us online or call the ‘specialists’ today at (800) 764-3280 to begin your journey to ‘healthy legs for life.’