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Doctor Can Diagnose Varicose Veins During A Physical Exam

Mar 22

Veins carry blood from your body's lower extremities to the heart. When veins become damaged, the valves that keep blood flowing in one direction can't function as well, and the veins swell, bulge and twist. Over time, the weakened walls can develop tears or holes. These conditions are called damaged veins in legs. They may cause itching, burning, or aching in your legs or feet, and can lead to skin discoloration, swelling, and leg ulcers. Some people have a genetic tendency to develop varicose veins, but many factors can contribute to the condition. These include: Age, pregnancy, sex, being overweight or obese, long periods of sitting or standing, and family history of varicose veins.

Damaged veins can lead to serious problems, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening blood clot in the leg veins. DVT can break off and travel to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism, another serious problem. Both DVT and pulmonary embolism can be fatal.

Varicose veins can be treated with lifestyle changes and nonsurgical procedures, such as compression therapy and sclerotherapy. If these treatments aren't effective, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to treat a damaged vein.

Your doctor can diagnose varicose veins during a physical exam. They may also do duplex ultrasound, which can show the condition of your veins and how they're working.

Treatment for varicose veins focuses on the symptoms you're having and how severe the disease is. Lifestyle changes, such as wearing loose clothing around the waist and legs to reduce pressure on your veins and not sitting or standing for long periods of time, can help. Your doctor can recommend medications, such as anti-inflammatories to ease pain and swelling, and blood thinners to help reduce your risk of forming a blood clot.

You can also try surface laser or intense pulsed light treatments to fade or close a damaged vein. These are minimally invasive outpatient procedures, meaning you won't need to spend the night in the hospital. They involve your doctor numbing certain areas on the surface of your skin, then directing strong bursts of light to the area.

Center For Advanced Vein Care's experts can use medical adhesive to seal a damaged vein shut, which reroutes blood flow through healthy nearby veins. The procedure, called endovenous ablation and sclerotherapy or VenaSeal, is performed using ultrasound guidance. It takes less than an hour, and you can go home the same day. You can get more information about these and other minimally invasive vein treatments from the Center For Advanced Vein Care Center.