Tag: vein treatment

There are Stages of Vein Disease: Don’t Delay Treatment!

Did you know that there are stages of vein disease? That’s right, this is a progressive condition. In fact, the Clinical Etiology Anatomy Pathophysiology classification lists six distinct stages. They begin at C0, where you have no visible sign of vein disease. Next, at C1 you have noticeable spider veins. Progress to C2? Now, varicose veins emerge. By C3, you’re worrying about edema. And if you get to C6? Well, at this point, you’ve got an active venous leg ulcer to address.

Now, all of that is really important information to understand. Especially if you’ve been delaying treating your spider veins.  Do you hate how they look, but aren’t sure if there’s a good medical reason to get rid of them? If so, you NEED to read this blog post.

Why? Because, if left untreated, the vein problems you’re already experiencing will get worse. And they can lead to further medical complications. In fact, by the end of this post, we’re guessing you’ll be ready to talk vein treatment. But first, let’s review three clear signs that pushing off your vein treatment is no longer an option.

Stages of Vein Disease

Vein disease gets worse if left alone. So you should seek treatment in the early stages of vein disease. And, to help you do that, here are the different stops along the way to serious vein disease.

STAGE 1: You’ll notice small red or blue veins under your skin. They may look like tree branches, and will be one millimeter or less in diameter. But, while they’re small, they still mean your leg veins have leaky valves.

STAGE 2: Here come the varicose veins. They are larger, blue twisted veins that bulge under the surface of your skin. at this stage, you may also develop symptoms. These include heaviness, itching, pain, inflammation, or even a ruptured vein, which can lead to bleeding events.

STAGE 3: Edema and lympheda become problems. Your legs and ankles swell from pooling blood in your lower leg. Your skin may feel tight. And it could take on a leathery appearance.

STAGE 4: Your skin changes colors. Usually, you’ll notice rust colored skin, especially around your calves and ankles. Again, this change comes from pooling blood in your lower legs.

STAGE 5: You may develop wounds (leg ulcers). While they may form scars, they’ll be difficult to heal.

STAGE 6: Your ulcers could bleed (Venous stasis ulcers). They could also leak pus or fluid. They may give off bad odors. And they’ll leave skin feeling tender or even burning.  These ulcers also increase yoru risk for skin infections or even amputations in extreme situations.

This is When to Seek Varicose Vein Treatment cellulitis on leg

As we mentioned, there are stages of vein disease. And, as with all progressive conditions, early treatment is best. So here are the clear signs it’s time to seek vein treatment.

  1. You notice dilated leg veins: Dark, vivid veins are unsightly. But visibly dilated veins expand in size, and that’s a clear sign to seek treatment.
  2. Your legs are tired and heavy: If your legs are heavy or numb or just-plain tired, varicose veins are impacting your quality of life.
  3. You develop phlebitis: Phlebitis causes inflammation in specific venous areas. The surrounding skin gets red and hot to the touch. You may also notice lumps beneath your skin. (And they’ll be painful!) You’ll usually notice this problem in your lower legs. But small surface veins in your arms, breasts or penis can also be impacted. There are two types of phlebitis: one that impacts surface veins, and one that hits your deeper veins. Superficial phlebitis isn’t a major medical concern, but phlebitis in your deeper veins (also called DVT, or deep vein thrombosis) is a medical emergency. In fact, it could be fatal if not treated quickly.
  4. And this condition is a clear sign to seek immediate treatment for your varicose veins.

Now we know how to spot the crucial moment to seek vein treatment, let’s look at what happens if you don’t.

If you ignore varicose veins in the early stages of vein disease, they won’t stay the way they are. And they certainly won’t get better! Instead, these bulging veins will get larger and more dangerous. (See the six stages of vein disease above.)

So…that’s the bad news. But here’s the good: we can stop this progression in its tracks with proper vein treatments.

And the earlier you seek treatment, the greater the variety of treatment options you’ll be offered ( all of which we’ll review in 3…2…1…

Top Treatment Options for Varicose Veins man holding knee

Depending on your disease progression, you may be eligible for one or more of the following treatments:

  1. Cosmetic sclerotherapy. If you aren’t having symptoms, or your veins are near the surface, this is a great choice. Treatment addresses unsightly veins that don’t show serious disease symptoms. It’s fast, minimally invasive and requires no sedation or anesthesia.
  2. Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy. This outpatient procedure is the best way to treat spider leg veins. We inject solution into your affected vein. Next, it shrinks and closes so blood flows through healthier veins, instead. Once the vein closes, it disappear from view over time. And the procedure takes just 15 minutes.  Afterwards, you wear compression stockings for a week. But you can get back to normal activities right away, making sure to walk for at least 30 minutes each day.

Ablation Treatment for Vein Disease

Another option our Houston vein specialists offer is radiofrequency vein ablation (RFA), typically used to treat varicose veins and other problems caused by venous insufficiency or reflux.

RFA is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is inserted into an abnormal vein, heating the vein to close it permanently. Radiofrequency ablation requires only a local anesthetic, causes little or no pain, and leaves virtually no scar. The outpatient procedure takes less than an hour to perform and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterwards.

Finally there is ambulatory phlebectomy—a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove bulging varicose veins located just below the skin.

Phlebectomy is performed under local anesthesia. Several small incisions are made to extract your bulging varicose vein. Since we make small incisions, you won’t need stitches and scarring is minimal or even non-existent. We call this procedure “ambulatory” because you can walk immediately after we get done!

Before recommending any of our vein treatments, our vein specialists will perform a thorough exam and discuss all your available options. Together, we’ll decide on the best way to stop your progressive vein disease in its tracks! So make your appointment today!

Sources: Cleveland Clinic 

When Varicose Veins Bleed, Here’s What to Do!

When varicose veins bleed, it’s a sign of serious vein disease. But it all starts with a smaller problem: spider veins! So many people think that varicose veins are a cosmetic problem. But did you know that it’s fairly common for even small spider veins to trigger bleeding episodes?

Yes, you read that correctly. Even if you have small spider veins, something as simple as a little cut could cause you to bleed. A lot. In fact, you might bleed so much that you have to seek medical attention to make it stop. And, want to know something even scarier? Sometimes, that bleeding event could happen spontaneously. In fact, it often happens when you’re taking a hot shower. The warm water dilates (opens up) your veins and brings more blood flow to already weakened areas. At this point, since the veins are so close to the surface of your skin, they may simply rupture.

Now, the point of this post isn’t to terrify you into treating your spider veins. But we do want to help you understand that leaving them untreated could contribute to further medical complications. And cause you more problems than embarrassment when your legs are exposed.

What Causes Varicose Veins to Bleed? spider veins on legs

While every individual is different, we usually see a common thread when varicose veins trigger bleeding. Typically, we see that a vein slightly above your bleeding site has become incompetent (it’s valves aren’t working.) This has allowed blood to collect in the veins. And that blood puts pressure on those veins making them both larger and more delicate.

Now, don’t forget, varicose veins are located fairly close to the surface of your skin. Which means that, over time, your varicose veins are become large, weak, easily-impacted store-houses for your blood. Now you understand why people with vein disease are more vulnerable to bleeding episodes, and why those episodes may result in serious blood loss.

Risks of Bleeding Varicose Veins

While rare, bleeding triggered by varicose veins that burst can be fatal. Now, if you’re pretty healthy otherwise, that shouldn’t happen. But if you are older or more socially isolated, a varicose vein bleed is more likely to cause serious harm. The same is true if you consume too much alcohol, take medication to prevent blood clots, or suffer from restricted mobility or dementia.

Now, even if your varicose vein bleed doesn’t prove fatal, it can still lead to serious complications. So, what can you do to prevent those complications? Well, the answer is fairly simple: treat your spider or varicose veins. That way, blood will stop pooling in your legs, and there will be less of a chance for serious blood loss if you do sustain a leg injury.

Fortunately, vein specialists like us offer a variety of different varicose vein treatments. The one you select will depend on your specific needs and, of course, the progression of our condition. But, you can’t pick a treatment without getting into the office. Which means that, if you have varicose veins and you’re worried about bleeding, you need to get scheduled for a diagnostic ultrasound as soon as possible.

Sources: Bertran, Carol Grace, MD. “Varicose Veins Can be Fatal.” PhilStar Golbal National Health Services

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