If you are like many other people, you may have noticed a few varicose veins or spider veins on your legs, but you don’t worry about them. After all, they’re common – 27% of the adult population has them, right? And they’re not serious…just a cosmetic issue, right? Wrong. These unsightly, bulging veins are symptoms of a disorder that afflicts more than 26 million Americans – vein disease. And it’s more serious than you think.
What are the five facts you need to know about vein disease treatment in Winston-Salem?
- Varicose veins and spider veins are visible symptoms of a much bigger problem with your circulation. They may be an indication of chronic venous insufficiency, which is a condition in which the tiny valves in your veins that pump blood back to the heart have weakened or become damaged, and are no longer functioning properly. This causes your blood to flow “backwards,” and pool up in the veins, which is what causes them to bulge and turn bluish in color. Any failure of the circulatory system impairs your overall health, and can lead to much more serious conditions.
- Varicose veins can escalate to more painful and crippling symptoms. Many people with varicose veins experience chronic tiredness and weakness when standing or walking. You may develop swollen legs and ankles and pain that causes you to stop walking and exercising because of the constant sensation that “My legs hurt.” This lack of exercise further escalates the problems, and can cause a serious deterioration of your overall health. A number of studies have linked the ability to walk with lifespan; the harder it is for you to get around comfortably, the shorter your life.
- Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to the development of ulceration. The lack of proper blood flow starves the skin cells of your extremities and can cause a breakdown of the tissues of your legs, feet, and ankles. This manifests as leg ulcers – open wounds and sores, sometimes bleeding, and often extremely painful. Treating these ulcers superficially often does not work and they fail to heal, because the underlying cause of them is beneath the skin, in your damaged circulatory system.
- Varicose veins increase your risk of much more serious vein diseases, such as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. Unlike the varicose veins, which you can see, DVT “hides” in the deeper, larger veins of the legs, and can cause them to develop blood clots. If these clots break loose and travel through the circulatory system, they can migrate to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolisms or migrate to the brain and cause strokes. Over 300,000 Americans per year die as a result of these side effects of vein disease. Even though DVT can be easily treated to remove the threat of blood clots becoming embolisms, studies have shown that only a small percentage of patients in need of such treatment receive it, because they were never screened for DVT.
- Vein disease increases your risk of other chronic diseases. You are more likely to become obese if you have vein disease, and obesity has been identified as one of the major factors in the development of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.
Bear these five facts in mind when you notice varicose veins or spider veins and think of them as “merely cosmetic,” and not worth seeing a doctor about. But – despite the title of this article – don’t stay up at night worrying about whether your vein disease is serious or not…find out for sure. A venous health screening at Novant Health Vein Specialists takes only a few minutes, is completely painless, and could save your life. If problems are found, they can be treated using conservative, minimally invasive treatment methodologies in the comfort of our Winston-Salem offices.
When it comes to your vein health, don’t stay up at night worrying. You have options, and the friendly, caring professionals at NHVS can explain them to you. To find out what they are, just give us a call at 336-245-4890 and set up an appointment with the best vein doctors in Winston-Salem.