If you are like many people who eventually visit our vein treatment center in Hawaii, you may have noticed a few varicose veins or spider veins on your legs, but you don’t worry about them. After all, they’re common – a third of the adult population has them, right? And they’re not serious…just a cosmetic issue, right?
Wrong. These unsightly, bulging veins are symptoms of a disorder that afflicts more than 26 million Americans – vein disease. And it’s more serious than you think.
What are the 5 facts you need to know about vein disease and its treatment?
- Varicose veins and spider veins are the visible symptoms of a much bigger problem with your circulation. They may be the result of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition in which the tiny valves in your veins have become weakened or damaged, and are no longer functioning properly. This causes your blood to flow “backwards,” and pool up in the veins, which is what causes them to bulge and turn bluish in color. Any failure of the circulatory system impairs your health, and can lead to much more serious conditions.
- Left untreated, varicose veins can escalate to more painful and crippling symptoms, such as chronic tiredness and weakness when standing or walking. It’s also common to develop swollen legs and ankles that are so painful it causes you to stop exercising. Lack of exercise further escalates the problem, and can cause a serious deterioration of your overall health. A number of studies link the ability to walk comfortably with lifespan – the harder it is for you to get around comfortably, the shorter your life.
- Untreated varicose veins also cause skin changes, because lack of proper blood flow starves your skin cells and causes a breakdown of the tissues of your legs, feet, and ankles. This manifests as leg ulcers – painful open sores that refuse to heal because their underlying cause is beneath the skin, in your damaged circulatory system.
- Varicose veins increase your risk of even more serious vein diseases, such as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. Unlike varicose veins, which you can see, DVT “hides” in the larger veins of the legs, and can cause them to develop blood clots. If these clots travel through your blood vessels, they can migrate to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism or migrate to the brain and cause a stroke. Over 300,000 Americans die every year as a result of these side effects of vein disease. And the worst part is that even though DVT can be easily treated, only a small percentage of patients in need of treatment receive it, because they were never screened for DVT.
- Vein disease increases your risk of other chronic health problems, including obesity, which has been identified as one of the major factors in the development of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Remember these 5 facts when you are tempted to ignore your varicose veins
Think about them the next time you consider your ugly, swollen veins as “just cosmetic,” and therefore they’re not worth seeing a doctor about. But, despite the title of this article, don’t stay up at night worrying about whether your vein disease is serious. Instead, find out for sure by scheduling a venous health screening at Vein Clinics of Hawaii. These screenings take only a few minutes, and are completely painless, but they could literally save your life. If problems are found, they can be treated using conservative, minimally invasive treatment methodologies in the comfort of our Maui, Kauai, Oahu, or Big Island offices. So give us a call and set up an appointment with some of the best vein doctors in Hawaii.