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What are Varicose Veins?


Vein disease is one of the most common conditions in the United States, affecting approximately 40% of women and 20% of men by the age of 50. In particular, 20-25 million Americans are estimated to have varicose veins.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a direct result of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and are enlarged, “ropey-looking”veins in the legs that lie just below the skin. CVI occurs when diseased or damaged one-way valves in the veins allow blood to flow backwards. As a result, blood pools in the leg, the vein walls get weak, and they swell and enlarge, becoming varicose veins. In addition to being unattractive and painful, varicose veins can cause other symptoms such as: achiness, swelling, and skin changes. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins with the exception of their small size and proximity to the skin’s surface.

How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Diagnosed?

MINT conducts a careful evaluation that utilizes advanced vascular ultrasound technology to determine the severity of the abnormal blood flow and ensure the correct diagnosis.

What Can Happen if I Don’t Treat my Varicose Veins?

When varicose veins are left untreated, they will continue to increase leg pain while decreasing activity level, especially activities pertaining to standing or walking for extended periods of time. In addition, varicose veins can spontaneously bleed, causing cuts to take months to heal or emergency medical intervention to stop uncontrollable bleeding. It is recommended to call MINT Institute and seek treatment for varicose veins immediately.

What are the Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency?

Some people may only experience cosmetic concerns over varicose veins, while others also experience aching, pain, and possibly other symptoms. Common symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Throbbing, burning, or tingling of the legs
  • Dull achiness or heaviness of the legs
  • Fatigue, cramping, muscle soreness, and swelling of the legs
  • Pain that is worse with prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • Pain that improves after lying down
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Skin discoloration or ulcerations near the ankle

Are You at Risk for Varicose Veins?

Approximately 40% of Americans have some form of venous insufficiency. Only some patients report symptoms related to their venous disease. Some common risk factors of varicose veins include:

  • Gender: Women are four times more likely than men to develop varicose veins
  • Occupation: Standing for long periods of time increases the risk of varicose veins
  • Age: Those over the age of 30 are at a higher risk
  • Family History
  • Pregnancies
  • Heavy Lifting
  • Prolonged standing
  • One or more blood clots in the superficial or deep veins

What Treatment is Available for Varicose Veins?

MINT offers experienced doctors and several in-house treatment options for varicose veins including: vein ablations, VenaSeal, sclerotherapy, or phlebectomy. To learn more, schedule a consultation today at one of our handy locations in St. Louis, MO, Wentzville, MO, Swansea, IL, Evergreen Park, IL and Chicago, IL or visit our Vein Center treatment page.

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