The cardiovascular system of the human body is very much like a subway — interconnected tunnels, tracks and switches governing the paths of trains, each train traveling at the right speed in the right direction — all for the purpose of transportation from A to B. The system depends on each part functioning properly. But what happens when a train breaks down, or a track switch fails? At the very least, traffic flow will be interrupted, and at worst, serious damage can occur.
Do You Need to See a Vein Specialist?
In the venous system, this damage is called “venous reflux” or “venous insufficiency” — basically, one or more veins are just not working properly. Without getting into a lot of ”medical-speak”, here’s a quick idea of what this means: after the blood comes down from the heart into the legs, it is then supposed to move back up toward the heart again. Where there is reflux or insufficiency, the blood doesn’t flow back up. Instead, it gets stuck in the leg and has a hard time getting out, leading to a pressure build-up.
Symptoms and complications of this range from mild (itching, restlessness, heaviness), to more severe (aching, burning, throbbing, cramping, swelling), to extremely severe (bulging or dilated veins on the surface, ulcers or wounds that won’t heal, and even deep vein thrombosis – DVT – which is a blood clot in a deep vein). Although most people with venous insufficiency may not go on to have more serious problems, it is vitally important to identify the underlying cause — as soon as possible.
If you have concerns about the veins in your legs, or you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you need to see a vein specialist immediately. Look for someone who:
- is well-educated in understanding the complexity of symptoms and potential serious complications,
- is expert in the diagnosis of underlying causes (and in the procedures to diagnose effectively and completely),
- understands that symptoms (like bulging surface veins) and underlying causes (to prevent recurrence) must both be treated,
- uses modern, effective, proven methods of treatment that are well-tolerated by patients,
- and most importantly, is board-certified, proving your doctor’s demonstrated expertise.
Do you deserve any less?
Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Very often, patients come in having some idea of the difference between spider veins and varicose veins, but aren’t really sure which they have, or if they have both, or neither. In fact, spider and varicose veins can be similarly symptomatic to a degree. So, it becomes extremely important to accurately identify the difference. Spider veins are simply a cosmetic issue. Though treatment is not generally covered by insurance, if you’re unhappy with them, there is no reason you shouldn’t seek treatment if you desire. Varicose veins, however, are not just cosmetic — they are a medical issue (generally covered by insurance). They almost certainly indicate an underlying problem that must be corrected, because they can lead to major medical complications.
When do you need to be seen by a vein specialist? Here’s what you need to ask yourself:
- Are my leg symptoms interfering with my daily activities?
- Am I unhappy with the appearance of the veins on my legs?
- Am I experiencing itching or burning, that feels like it’s coming from “inside” my legs?
- Have any of my veins become hardened or painful?
- Is there discoloration or hardening of the skin around my ankles, or a leg wound that doesn’t seem to heal?
- Do I have painful night cramps or restlessness?
- Have I experienced an increase of swelling in my legs?
- Did I have vein problems during pregnancy, and I plan to get pregnant again?
- At the end of the day (or after sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time), do my legs feel “heavy”? Do they ache or throb?
- Do I see bulging veins on my legs, that are blue, red or purplish in color?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, ask yourself just one more:
What am I waiting for?
These are important warning signs, so answer honestly and pay close attention. We don’t want your “subway system” to shut down, leaving the passengers overcrowded and spilling out from the nearest station. Call my office and book a complimentary vein consult with me today! (Don’t forget that varicose vein treatment is covered by most insurance.)
You may find it’s the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.