This post sponsored by The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions are my own. And, I’m ever so thankful for this opportunity as this issue does affect my family.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a briefing about varicose veins with Summer Sanders (yes, THE Summer Sanders of Olympics and Nick tv fame!) and Dr. Julianne Stoughton, a nationally renowned vascular surgeon and Harvard instructor. They are on a mission to inform the public of the dangers of and treatments available for varicose veins.
I was quite interested in this briefing as my hubby has terrible varicose veins. He works in retail, so he spends all day long on his feet, on concrete floors. Not a great thing for anyone’s legs. However, his right leg now has varicose veins that need to be treated. They have only gotten worse over the course of the last few years.
What I found was that, indeed most who have varicose veins are women, but men are also at risk. Varicose veins are different than spider veins. Both types of veins are caused by dysfunctional vein valves. However, spider veins appear as a nest of blue or red veins just under the surface of the skin, and typically do not bulge above the skin’s surface like varicose veins. While you should talk to your doctor about both, varicose veins are a sign of venous disease and should be diagnosed and treated by a vein specialist to avoid progression to CVI.
It’s not just that varicose veins are “unsightly”, they also carry risks. Did you know that more than 30 million people suffer from varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)? Less than 10% of these sufferers seek medical diagnosis and treatment (so far, my husband included).
Varicose veins occur when the valves in the leg veins no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs. Here is a graphic of what is happening inside those legs-
The Connection Between Varicose Veins + CVI
- Varicose veins are one of the first signs of CVI
- If left untreated, CVI can progress to worsening stages over time
- Common CVI symptoms include:
-Pain, aching, heaviness
-Swelling of the legs
-Restlessness and fatigue of the legs
Who’s At Risk?
- Prolonged Standing
- Excess Weight
- Age (50+)
- Family History
- Women are 2-to-3 times more likely than men to develop varicose veins, primarily due to pregnancy
The first step is to Self-Assess Your Legs at Rethink Varicose Website. When you visit the site to take the self assessment test, you can also enter to win a spa trip! (more about that later!)
If the test reveals that you have some risk factors, here are the steps to taking care of those varicose veins:
Step 1: Ultrasound Testing & Physician Evaluation:
- Every body is unique, therefore an ultrasound is needed to determine what approach is the best to treat the veins
- The ultrasound will identify where the leak is in the individual’s leg
Step 2: Minimally-invasive treatment options:
- These eliminate varicose veins, improve appearance of legs and allow for a short, comfortable recovery and quick return to everyday activities
- Because varicose veins and CVI are recognized as progressive, sometimes serious medical conditions, most insurance plans will cover treatment
- Endovenous Ablation
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Seals off problem vein using uniform heat to close off diseased vein
- Lower rates of pain and bruising
- Laser Ablation
- Delivers laser energy to heat blood, causing it to coagulate to close off the diseased vein
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Sclerotherapy (Chemical Ablation)
- Involves injections of chemical into diseased veins, causing veins to close
- Used for veins that are too close to the surface
- Multiple treatments to close damaged vein
- Endovenous Ablation
Varicose Veins Are Not Preventable, They are 100% Curable. These Things Help:
1. Managing Risk Factors
- Keeping blood pressure in check
- Controlling weight
- Staying physically active
2. Lifestyle Modifications
- No prolonged standing
- Elevating feet above thighs when sitting; above heart when lying down
- Strengthening calf muscles
3. Compression Stockings
- Provide graduated compression from ankle to the knee or thigh to help reduce pain and swelling
- Only help manage symptoms
Common Myths About Varicose Veins
- Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue and are better treated at an earlier stage to prevent progression into CVI
- Spider veins are not the same thing as varicose veins and require a different form of treatment
- Genetics, pregnancy and age are common factors in the development of varicose veins or CVI
- Men are at risk for developing varicose veins, too. It ISN’T just a woman’s issue
- Treatments for varicose veins and CVI are usually covered by insurance
- Compression stockings and elevation of the feet are NOT cures for varicose veins
- Most treatments are minimally-invasive, allowing for a short, comfortable recovery and a quick return to normal activities
Now, about that spa trip I mentioned earlier:
- Take the short assessment quiz that takes no more than a minute, and automatically be entered to win an all-expense-paid trip for two to the Escape with MORE Magazine event at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson (November 14-17)
- During this exclusive, 4-day girl’s getaway the winner and a friend will be pampered with daily spa treatments and yoga and meditation classes, and can participate in health and wellness seminars led by MORE editors and special guest speakers
So, here’s what you can do to learn more:
Take the self-assessment.
After you do, come back and tell me if you are at risk in the comments section. When you do, you’ll be entered to win one of 10 free music download cards! These music downloads are available in many genres: pop, rock, country, etc!
Third, attend the Twitter party on Thursday, July 18th at 2pm Eastern. Follow #RethinkVaricose. You can ask questions of Dr. Stoughton as well as Summer Sanders. You can also win one of five $50 VISA gift cards for attending! You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite. The party will last one hour.
If varicose veins is a concern of yours, you should definitely make plans to attend this Twitter party to learn more!
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