Ask The Doctor

Question
How common are varicose veins?
The incidence of varicose veins increases with age. Varicose veins affect about 20% of all adults and 50% of people age 50 and older.

Question
What causes varicose veins?
The two most important factors are heredity and hormones. Varicose veins run in families. Veins are affected by the female hormone estrogen, which explains why most patients with varicose veins are women. Standing for long periods of time is a factor also.

Question
Do varicose veins affect both men and women?
Yes, but about 90% of all patients with varicose veins are women.

Question
My legs ache, but I only have spider veins. Will treating them help?
Blood stagnates in clusters of spider veins and causes localized aching and itching. Sclerotherapy of the spider veins can relieve these symptoms as well as improving the appearance of the legs.

Question
Are there several types of treatment for varicose veins?
With current technology, a variety of treatment options are available. Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan based on their particular problem at the time of the initial consultation. With current technology, treatment of even the largest bulging varicose veins can be done without traditional vein stripping surgery.

Question
Does closing a varicose vein harm my circulation?
Quite the contrary, eliminating veins with abnormal blood flow improves and enhances the overall circulation of blood in your legs.

Question
Might I need one of the varicose veins later for heart bypass surgery?
Only small normal veins can be used for heart bypass. Varicose veins are stretched out of shape and not acceptable for artery substitutes in heart bypass surgery.

Question
What causes brown discoloration and clusters of spider veins on the inside of my ankles?
Venous reflux from varicose veins is the most common cause of the skin changes in the lower calf and ankle. Anyone with ankles like this should have evaluation of their venous system. Treatment of the underlying venous problem may improve these skin changes.

Question
What can happen if my varicose veins are not treated?
Varicose veins progressively get worse, producing certain symptoms and complications such as swelling, phlebitis, bleeding, and venous ulcers. Appropriate treatment can stop this process.

Question
Will L'Eggs or Haynes support stockings help my legs?
Although they make your legs feel better, these stockings have very slight support. For therapy of varicose veins you need the extra support of a quality graduated compression stocking.