Venous Disease FAQ, Sandman Veins, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Find Your Answers To Your Venous Disease Questions

Venous Disease is Hereditary

Venous disease is hereditary, meaning if someone related to you suffers from varicose veins, there is a strong chance you are or will be suffering from them as well. Studies have shown that roughly 80% of cases of varicose veins are caused by heredity. This is because of the similar vein patterns and metabolic similarities of family members.

Overcoming Hereditary Factors

Obesity can be a hereditary factor as well, that also contributes to venous disease. Some ways to do the best you can to prevent the progression of venous disease is to maintain a healthy weight, have a low sodium diet to prevent water retention, and to maintain an active lifestyle and exercise at least 3 times a week, if not more. Try to avoid long periods of standing and sitting. If sitting, elevate your legs. If you need to stand for work, take breaks to walk around and get the blood flowing freely.

Subsequently, it is always better to get earlier treatment of your venous disease for better results. If you are showing signs of venous disease as listed to the right, schedule a consulting appointment with us!

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually due to an uncomfortable sensation or feeling. This usually happens at nighttime, or when you are lying down or sitting. Moving eases the uncomfortable feeling or feeling of pain temporarily. RLS affects about 10% of the population, and is most recognized as a neurological disorder. Prescription medicines, iron supplements, or lifestyle changes can help aid in the treatment of RLS. Scheduling a consultation with a venous specialist is important to rule out venous disease as a possible underlying cause of RLS before embarking on a course of therapy. Treatment and diagnoses for restless leg syndrome should be sought if your discomfort is consistent.

What happens to the Blood Flow once the Vein is removed?

First, it is important to know that keeping a refluxing vein intact does more harm than good. The blood is going backwards through your vein (refluxing), which causes the blood to pool in the vein. This causes the veins to dilate, which causes blood to pool in the veins. This pooling of blood causes discoloration in the leg, which can eventually lead to ulcers if left untreated. Removing this bad vein stops this process in circulation. Instead, the blood will travel back up the legs and to the heart through the good veins that are left, restoring proper circulation.

It is also important to note that these superficial veins are used for heart bypass. This may raise a concern to some that they are taking a vein out that they may need for their heart. It is important to know that if your superficial vein is found to be refluxing or dilated, it will not be able to be used for heart bypass, so it will be of no harm to treat the vein when it comes to possible heart bypass.

What is venous insufficiency and how do I know if I have it?

Venous Insufficiency is abnormal venous blood flow back to the heart.  When the valves of the veins are not functioning well this can lead to vein dilation and symptoms such as pain, cramping, restless legs and swelling.  An ultrasound mapping will show which veins are and are not working properly.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

Varicose veins are not life threatening but symptoms usually worsen over time.  Several things which may affect the decision to pursue treatment may include severity of disease, severity of symptoms and other medical conditions that are present.

What are my treatment options?

Treatments Include:  Endovenous laser ablation, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or a combination of the above.  After an ultrasound mapping is performed, a treatment plan will be determined according to your individual needs.

Do the treatments hurt?

There is minimal discomfort during the procedure and post procedure there may be some aching and soreness in the treated areas.  If our patients require pain medicine they are instructed to take ibuprofen.

How long do the treatments take?

All of our treatments take less that an hour in our office suite.

What can I expect after treatment?

Our patients report minimal or no bruising or scarring after the procedure and we encourage them to resume normal activity as soon as possible.  We recommend ibuprofen post procedure and would restrict only heavy impact activity for the first few days (for example, running).  We also recommend wearing compression hose after the procedure.

What happens to the treated vein?

The vein essentially dies and is reabsorbed.  The body will recirculate the blood through healthy veins.

Are there any risks involved?

Our treatments are very low risk and most commonly include temporary numbness which resolves or mild bruising.  The benefits and risks will be reviewed with you if you decide to pursue treatment.  All benefits and risks will be reviewed with you along with your treatment plan.

What happens if I do not have my varicose veins treated?

Over time the high pressure in the veins can cause progressive edema and inflammation on which will worsen over time if left untreated.  Symptoms will likely worsen and may even lead to skin changes, blood clots or, if the disease is severe enough, non-healing leg ulcers.

Is there anything I can do to fix a diseased vein?

No exercise or medicine can reverse the disease that is already present but preventative measures may include compression hose and supplements.

Should I wait until I am done having children to have my veins treated?

Elevated hormones during pregnancy along with increased blood volume and an enlarged uterus all exacerbate underlying venous insufficiency and significantly worsen symptoms.  This can make leg discomfort and swelling extremely uncomfortable during pregnancy, and symptoms typically worsen with each successive pregnancy.  We recommend treatment before or between pregnancies.  We cannot treat you if you are pregnant and would recommend compression hose and leg elevation in this instance.

Will my varicose veins come back?

Unfortunately if you have a genetic predisposition for varicosities you may continue to grow new veins over time and require intermittent “touch-up” treatments.  However, endovenous laser has a 95% closure rate long term.  Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is about 80% effective long term.

Do men get varicose veins?

Yes they do.  In the US alone, up to 25% of men and 40% of women suffer from this condition.

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