Veins are an essential component of our bodies. They help move blood through the circulatory system, which provides crucial nutrients and oxygen to tissues and organs. Unfortunately, several factors can diminish the quality of our veins, which may lead to dangerous consequences.
Varicose veins are one of the most common vein health concerns. These large, bulging, rope-like blood vessels can take a serious toll on your self-confidence, but they’re more than just a cosmetic nuisance — if left untreated, varicose veins can become painful and indicate that a more dangerous health problem is at play. Fortunately, with the precision treatments available at The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, varicose veins and their underlying causes are quite treatable.
Various treatment options are available depending on the severity of your varicose veins, your medical history and your general health. Guidance from a qualified vein specialist is essential to ensure that your chosen treatment is a success and that you receive the right knowledge and resources for continued vein health. Dr. James Jimenez of The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin is skilled in all facets of phlebology (medicine concerning the veins) and the longest practicing vein physician in the Florida Panhandle. Contact us today to book your vein screening with Dr. J.
How Do Varicose Veins Form?
Veins continuously circulate blood throughout the body to bring oxygen-depleted blood from the extremities back to the heart. Veins in the lower half of the body must work harder to move blood towards the heart because they are working against the pull of gravity. Muscle contractions and elastic veins walls in the lower legs push blood upward, while tiny valves within the veins open and close to prevent the blood from flowing back down. Your body needs to maintain this constant, harmonious system to keep your heart pumping and you alive.
When the valves that prevent backflow become damaged, blood flow is disrupted, leading to a build-up of pressure that eventually widens the affected vein and can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities. Eventually, as blood continues to pool and the vein continues to expand, the vessel protrudes from the skin and forms what is known as a varicose vein. These veins can be unsightly and disheartening, and may even cause physical discomfort that reduces your quality of life.
Varicose veins are strongly associated with genetics. Women who have a parent with varicose veins have a 60 percent chance of developing them, while men have a 25 percent chance. Risk factors for varicose veins include:
- Age – because vein valves naturally weaken over time
- Sex – women are at higher risk for varicose veins due to hormonal changes
- Pregnancy – because of the increased volume of blood required to support a fetus
- Underlying conditions – such as venous insufficiency or venous reflux disease
Lifestyle factors can also play a role in varicose vein development. Crossing your legs frequently, standing or sitting for long periods and even having a diet high in salt can potentially contribute to varicose veins.
Health Issues Caused by Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are tangled, jumbled-looking bulges that can be unsightly and embarrassing. Women and men with varicose veins are often uncomfortable showing their legs in public, which prevents them from doing numerous enjoyable things, such as going to the beach or wearing shorts and skirts in summer. However, varicose veins aren’t just a threat to your self-confidence. They may be a medical issue as well as a cosmetic one.
When varicose veins initially appear, they may be harmless. As the veins continue to expand, however, a number of medical concerns can arise. Swelling is a common issue for sufferers of varicose veins. This swelling is caused by a lack of circulation and can lead to increased pain while walking, muscle spasms and restless leg syndrome. These issues are relatively minor compared to what untreated varicose veins can later become.
Skin discoloration, also known as lipodermatosclerosis, can develop as swelling worsens. Lipodermatosclerosis causes the skin to become brown or red and develop a hardened, leathery texture. These changes occur because the fatty tissue beneath the skin’s surface becomes inflamed and prone to disease. Lipodermatosclerosis is not just displeasing to the eyes, but also itchy and irritating, and may eventually lead to cracking and bleeding.
In severe circumstances, varicose veins can lead to venous stasis ulcers, which form due to chronic venous insufficiency and excessive pressure in the legs. These painful, long-lasting sores are the result of an issue that could have been prevented with proper treatment. Another serious complication of varicose veins is deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can lead to deadly blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
While varicose veins may simply seem like a cosmetic problem, they should not be taken lightly. We encourage you to visit an experienced vein treatment provider early to ensure your varicose vein doesn’t develop into something more harmful.
Can I Treat Varicose Veins at Home?
It is possible to reduce some symptoms associated with varicose veins yourself, but it’s impossible to completely remove them with at-home methods. Wearing compression stockings can help alleviate the discomfort associated with varicose veins. By applying slight pressure on the area where the affected vessels are present, the stockings help the veins move blood more efficiently. Increasing exercise and making healthy changes in your diet are recommended to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins.
Although compression stockings can be an effective way to stave off swelling and tenderness caused by long periods of standing or sitting, they cannot reverse damage to the vein valves and walls, so the underlying issue will remain. Some people find that compression stockings have no beneficial effect. It’s best to meet with a vein specialist who can make recommendations regarding compression stockings and other varicose vein remedies. If you are interested in relieving pain and discomfort caused by varicose veins with compression stockings, compression therapy to relieve vein symptoms is offered at The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin.
At-home methods are not recommended as the exclusive treatments of varicose veins. While they may be helpful, it’s best to seek the guidance of an experienced professional who can determine the right course of action. Dr. J can develop a personalized treatment plan and provide advice to further the longevity of your vein health.
Varicose Vein Treatments Offered at The Varicose Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin
Patients have several options for treating their varicose veins at The Varicose Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin. During an initial consultation, Dr. James Jimenez will examine your varicose veins and discuss the treatment options available to you. Our state-of-the-art treatments resolve varicose veins quickly, easily and with little to no downtime. You can feel confident you’re in good care with Dr. Jimenez, a pioneer in minimally-invasive varicose vein treatments. Our treatment options include:
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT™) is a quick and straightforward treatment. The 30-minute procedure involves putting a small catheter into the varicose vein. Dr. Jimenez will guide the catheter to a specific point in the vein using ultrasound. Once it’s in place, it will emit laser energy to weaken the vein walls, causing the vein to collapse and ultimately close in on itself. The ablated varicose vein will gradually disappear and any excess blood will reroute to healthier veins.
EVLT™ is a safe and proven treatment. Very little pain is experienced during EVLT™ and complications are rare. Preliminary results are noticeable immediately after the procedure, and results will gradually improve for two to three weeks.
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy is best suited for patients with smaller varicose veins that don’t overtly protrude through the skin. During treatment, a sclerosing agent or sclerosant (an irritant solution that has a texture similar to shaving cream) is injected into the vein. When the sclerosant foam is left in the vein, it eventually liquifies and displaces the blood. The liquified foam then attaches itself to the vein walls and permanently closes them, which causes the vein to either shrink or disappear entirely.
Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy requires no downtime and poses little risk of side effects. The treated vein is no longer visible beneath the skin’s surface immediately after the procedure.
An ambulatory phlebectomy is a microsurgical technique that’s performed with a local anesthetic. After the anesthetic numbs the area, minute incisions are made along the varicose vein. The vein is then pulled out in sections using a specially-designed hook. Absorbent pads and a compression bandage are worn over the treated area after the surgery.
While ambulatory phlebotomy may sound like a more painful and involved technique than EVLT™ or ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, it is a simple and minimally-invasive procedure. The treatment is safe and effective, and requires little downtime. The tiny incisions made during the procedure are so small that they require no stitches.
Scleroablative therapy is a customizable sclerotherapy treatment that’s effective for patients with recurrent or severe varicose veins. Scleroablative therapy involves injecting an irritant into the varicose vein to cause inflammation in the vein walls and lead to the vein’s eventual destruction in combination with laser ablative therapy. Patients who have undergone vein stripping or other forms of varicose vein removal find this treatment particularly beneficial. Dr. J uses patient-specific sclerotherapy techniques to ensure the treatment yields the best possible results. The treatment typically lasts for one hour and requires little downtime.
How Do You Prevent Varicose Veins?
The removal of varicose veins is an exciting opportunity to renew your health and confidence, but remember that these treatments do not prevent new varicose veins from arising. It’s important to continue making lifestyle choices that improve your circulation and support venous health.
Regular exercise is key. Because muscle contractions help pump blood against gravity through your legs, improving muscle tone can help reduce your risk. Even low-impact activities, such as walking or jogging, can make a significant difference. Avoid sitting or standing without shifting positions for long periods. Eating healthy is also essential.
Other simple lifestyle changes that can be made to improve your vein health include changes in your wardrobe, sitting and standing up straight, maintaining a healthy and stable weight, and elevating your legs. Avoiding clothing that is too tight in the waist, groin or legs can improve blood circulation. Good posture enhances blood flow and lessens the pressure on your veins. Raising your legs six to 12 inches a few times a day allows more blood to flow to your heart. All of these changes can have a significant impact on your risk of developing varicose veins.
After a varicose vein removal treatment with Dr. Jimenez, he will provide you with personalized recommendations and advice for preventing the future development of varicose veins.
Contact The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin for Varicose Vein Treatment With Dr. Jimenez
You don’t have to suffer with unsightly veins any longer. Accomplished in the phlebology and interventional radiology fields, and a pioneer in minimally-invasive vein treatments, Dr. Jimenez is trusted and admired by his patients and peers. Dr. J is proud to offer cutting-edge varicose vein treatments at The Vein Center of Florida and The Vein Center of South Baldwin.
Together with his caring staff, Dr. Jimenez prioritizes making a personal connection with every patient. This ensures you receive a customized treatment plan that is tailored to your needs, giving you the best results with the shortest recovery time possible and minimal risk.
Dr. Jimenez offers free vein screenings prior to starting any varicose vein treatment. Based on this initial examination, he will recommend appropriate treatment options and suggest preventative measures you can take at home. Most people who undergo varicose vein treatment see significant improvements in their symptoms. We invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jimenez by contacting us at 1-800-910-VEIN (8346) or by visiting our contact page.