If you see it, don’t ignore it. “The most important thing is to be conscious that this is a common problem,” said Dr. Ronnie Word, a vascular surgeon with Lee Health.
It’s a common problem that can be painful. “A lot of people have varicose veins, and they have no symptoms whatsoever. Other people do complain of throbbing pain from varicose veins. They complain of itching. But more often than not the biggest complaint is they have achy heavy legs,” said Dr. Word.
Women are 20 to 25 percent more likely to develop varicose veins. “It usually happens at the end of the day after they’ve been standing for a while. Some people can have swelling of the ankle. Certainly, if you have more advanced forms of the disease, they can develop skin changes, like darkened skin in the lower legs, some can develop wounds like venous ulcers,” he said.
Varicose veins happen when the valves in your veins stop working properly. Patients typically develop varicose veins in their legs.
“If you only have the spider veins, the little veins, those are more cosmetic treatments so we can inject those,” Dr. Word said. But for patients with more advanced disease, doctors may recommend an ultrasound to determine how well the veins function. “Depends on what we see, we can remove those varicose veins, we can inject the varicose veins, many times we end up doing laser ablations,” said Dr. Word.
The in-office procedures are successful in eliminating the problem and pain. “Once we remove the veins and do the laser and fix the problem, I would say 89 percent of them feel better. Their legs feel better, they are walking better, they are doing better,” he said.
Making it important to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your varicose veins.