According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately half of Americans age 50 and older have varicose veins. These veins are most commonly located in the legs, appear to bulge from the skin and are dark purple or blue in color.
The veins in a person’s legs carry blood back up to the heart and should only allow blood to flow in one direction. However, when the valves in a person’s veins become weak and allow blood to flow away from the heart, blood pools and the veins in that area become stretched or enlarged, thereby, creating a varicose vein.
While varicose veins are very common among both men and women, there are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of being affected. These include:
Hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
Not only can varicose veins cause discomfort and embarrassment for the men and women who have them, but they can also sometimes lead to more serious health conditions. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to:
Blood Clots- These are extremely dangerous, as they may dislodge from the vein and travel to the lungs or heart, preventing either from functioning properly.
Sores and Ulcers- Varicose veins may lead to sores and ulcers of the skin because of long-term buildup of fluid.
Varicose veins may also cause ongoing swelling, rashes, and pain, and can increase a person’s chances of infection.
Varicose veins may signal a higher risk for circulatory problems. If you have varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, itching, tiredness, or numbness in the legs, you should seek medical attention. Jamaica Hospital Department of Vascular Surgery offers a variety of options to treat varicose veins.
Treatment options available include:
Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected to seal off the area in which blood is pooling.
Laser treatment: Without the use of needles or incisions, strong bursts of light are delivered precisely onto varicose veins to make them fade and eventually disappear.
Endovenous Radiofrequency: A catheter is inserted into the vein and radiofrequency or laser energy seals the vein wall. This approach is used in treating deeper varicose veins.
Surgical litigation and stripping: Varicose veins are removed entirely.
If you have varicose veins and would like to schedule a consultation with a vascular surgeon at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7108.