Varicose Veins

What are varicose veins?

A varicose vein is an enlarged, twisted vein, usually occurring in the leg. This condition is usually hereditary (runs in families) and twice as many women as men tend to be affected. They can appear at any time but become more frequent with age.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

The problems caused by varicose veins are not purely cosmetic although they are often unsightly. They can cause pain, discomfort, itching, burning or throbbing sensation. After long periods of standing, leg or ankle swelling may occur. Sometimes in more severe cases, a vein can become inflamed (thrombophlebitis) or bleed spontaneously. Recent studies have shown association between restless leg syndrome and varicose veins.

What causes varicose veins?

There tends to be an inherited predisposition to developing varicose veins although other factors may influence whether or not they actually develop. Occupations that require people to stand for prolonged periods of time (e.g., hairdressing, nursing) put people at greater risk of developing varicose veins if they have a genetic predisposition. Pregnancy can often cause varicose veins, but in most cases, these are temporary and will disappear a few months after the baby is born. Being very overweight puts increased pressure on the legs and can increase the likelihood of developing varicose veins. In 10% of cases previous deep venous thrombosis episode can cause secondary varicosities

Is this a benign condition?

NO. It is a major medical problem in the community. It is estimated around 20 million Americans suffer from some form varicose veins, and majority of times they go undetected or undertreated. If untreated, it will complicate and present with severe bleeding, dermatitis, cellulites, leg ulcers causing significant quality of life impairement.

Does my insurance company cover the cost of treatment?

Yes. However the insurance company needs vein specialist (phlebologist or vascular clinician) to evaluate and document the symptoms for coverage.


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