COVID and Varicose Veins

April 7, 2021

covid varicose veins

A year has passed since lockdown restrictions went into effect. The world was in a panic, and what steps we had to take to lessen this virus’s spread were not entirely known. Were masks and hand sanitizer all that was needed? Was self-isolation for some time the right step? These questions were difficult to answer when COVID-19 became more prominent in our day-to-day. 

Social distancing and ultimately quarantining became the most probable way to stop the spread of the virus. Restaurants closed. Theatres shutdown. Office work was ceased until further notice – making working from home the norm. These societal changes had an impact on how everyone lives. While necessary and important, these changes led to a more sedentary lifestyle, potentially affecting your body. A sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle is among the leading causes for developing a cosmetic and potential medical concern that we’re very familiar with: varicose veins. 

At The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we understand the physical toll that remaining in your house to stop this virus may have had on you. We applaud your determination and dedication to fight COVID-19 but encourage you to take the necessary steps to improve your overall health. If you have developed varicose veins or have noticed worsening of your veins over this past year, please contact us at 850-607-7570 or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation. 

How Varicose Veins Develop

Veins are an integral part of your body. They help transport oxygen-depleted blood from your extremities back to your heart. Maintaining this constant flow is difficult to do alone for your veins, especially for the lower half of your body. Transporting blood from your legs requires an extra output of energy to work against the forces of gravity. Muscle contractions within your legs help exert this needed energy, which, essentially, act like pumps. But if you remain inactive for long periods, not moving your legs very often, it becomes more likely for your blood to not distribute throughout your body correctly. 

While vein valves are in place to prevent blood from flowing backward, sometimes they can become damaged or weakened, which results in blood pooling within your vein walls. Your vein walls gradually build pressure and expand, causing them to protrude from your skin when blood pools. The result is varicose veins – twisted, enlarged veins that aren’t easy to look at and may signal a health concern. 

How Does COVID Play a Role?

Lockdown restrictions imposed across the country have led many to begin living a sedentary lifestyle, which has contributed to varicose veins developing. Being allowed to work from home has made it so people can get straight out of bed and to the computer desk. Not watching movies at the theatre has made streaming services the go-to. Not being able to meet with friends for a drink or lunch has made restaurants virtually obsolete at times. These lifestyle changes have, among many things, led to less walking, meaning fewer muscle contractions in the legs and pooling of blood in the legs. Also, being at home this last year may have led to you picking up poor eating habits, leading to increased weight. Weight gain can put pressure on your vein walls, potentially causing more damage and increasing your risk for varicose veins. 

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Varicose Veins?

If left untreated, the large, rope-like veins can lead to serious medical concerns. Initial concerns that often accompany varicose veins include swelling and discomfort, which can make walking painful, cause muscle spasms and result in restless leg syndrome. While these are fairly minor concerns, varicose veins can sometimes develop into something more serious. 

Varicose veins may eventually lead to skin discoloration. The skin surrounding varicose veins can become red or brown, eventually hardening into a leathery texture. This condition is known as lipodermatosclerosis and is itchy and irritating. Irritation caused by this condition can eventually cause cracked, bleeding skin. What’s worse, if left untreated, varicose veins can result in venous stasis ulcers, long-lasting sores caused by poor venous circulation. 

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Thankfully, if you have developed varicose veins during this unusual time, it’s possible to have them treated – safely and effectively. Successful treatment options for varicose veins offered here at The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin include:

Endovenous Laser Treatment

EVLT is a quick, less than 30-minute procedure. The treatment involves putting a small catheter into broken veins through which laser energy is emitted to cause vein damage. The unnecessary treated broken veins ultimately collapse, and the vein closes in on itself. Over time, the destroyed vein is naturally absorbed by the body, and the circulatory blood reroutes to healthier veins. 

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

This simple and minimally-invasive procedure involves making tiny incisions where the varicose vein is located. Through these incisions, the varicose vein is focally extracted with a specially-designed hook. The ambulatory phlebectomy procedure is performed with a local anesthetic, and a compression bandage is worn afterward to promote circulation and healthy recovery. 

Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy

This form of varicose vein therapy is best-suited to treat varicose veins originating from broken veins under the skin surface.  The procedure involves injecting a sclerosant, which is an irritant solution, into the vein. The sclerosant irritates the vein walls closing the targeted veins, which will cause the broken veins to either shrink or disappear. 

Scleroablative Therapy

This customizable treatment combines laser and sclerotherapy ultimately leading to successful treatment of varicose veins. The treatment is especially useful for patients that have had prior vein treatments in the past and have more recently developed new varicose veins or recurrent varicose veins. 

Schedule a Varicose Vein Consultation with Dr. Jimenez of The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin

COVID-19 has had a disastrous effect on the world. It has swept many across the globe into a period of self-isolation to prevent its spread. While these precautions were wholly necessary, they may have affected your physical health. A more sedentary lifestyle and the potential for weight gain may have put you at risk for developing varicose veins. While these large, unsightly veins may seem as though they will not go away, this is not the case. Multiple treatment options exist that will rid them from your body. 

Dr. Jimenez of The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin is here to help with your varicose veins. If you are interested in learning more about the existing varicose vein treatment options, please contact us at 850-607-7570 or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation.