FAQs | Vein Conditions & Treatments | Jacksonville
Click any of the questions below to see our answer.What are varicose and spider veins?
Varicose veins are a medical condition where there are formations of unusually enlarged or swollen superficial veins found running along the thigh, calf or inside of the leg. Varicose veins are most commonly colored blue, but can also be red or flesh colored. Some pregnant women also develop this condition around the buttocks and/or vaginal area.
Spider veins are similar to the varicose variety, except they are smaller and tend to run more near to the skin's surface than a varicose vein. Commonly producing vein swelling in the legs or face, spider veins derive their name from the fact that they often appear like a spider web or tree branch with shorter, more jagged lining.
When it comes to varicose and spider veins, Jacksonville area residents should know that there are a number of ways this condition can be contracted, to include:
- Certain chosen occupations where you spend a lot of time on your feet, like working in a factory; or as a nurse, teacher, hairdresser, or any other type of job that puts an unusually high amount of pressure on your abdomen and legs.
- Being overweight to the point where it strains your abdomen and legs.
- An inherited family history of blood clotting.
- Hormonal changes that may occur during puberty, menopause and while pregnant.
- Otherwise normal veins that are over-exposed to ultraviolet rays; this is especially common for Jacksonville & Florida residents.
- Trauma, skin injuries, and/or past venous surgery that may have had an adverse effect on one or more sets of veins.
- Other varying conditions that cause undue pain and stress to the abdomen area, such as a tumor, being constipated on a regular basis or frequently wearing certain clothing such as a girdle.
- Getting older; as a person ages, their veins tend to weaken naturally, which will sometimes lead to this condition.
When varicose or spider veins occur, it is because healthy blood flow from the veins to the heart valve is somehow impaired. This occurs more commonly in the lower part of the body, because the lower veins need to pump the blood uphill and against the natural flow caused by gravity. For this reason, if any of the aforementioned conditions/symptoms place an undue amount of strain on the veins in the lower part of the body, they may weaken and not be able to function properly. This can sometimes cause the blood to pool up in the legs, resulting in bulging, dilating veins. When this occurs in large surface veins, they can turn into a blue colored varicose type. When occurring in a small vein located just under the surface of the skin, it can turn into a spider vein.
Jacksonville residents should be aware that people who live in warmer climates have more exposure to ultraviolet rays, and for that reason are at a greater risk of contracting one of these venous insufficiency conditions. Aside from factors determined by geographic location, the most common demographic to contract vein problems is adult women. In fact, it is estimated that between 50% and 55% of adult women in the United States have some type of problem with their veins. Also, the older a person gets, the more likely they are to develop a venous insufficiency condition.
In most cases no. However, vein problems can be quite uncomfortable and make legs or other affected areas appear unattractive. They may also lead to deeper health concerns down the road, the most common being significant blood loss caused by an injury to a weak vein.
For varicose or spider vein conditions, Jacksonville residents have several treatment options, including:
- Compression Stockings/ Compression Hose Therapy (for more mild cases)
- Sclerotherapy (this is the most common treatment, coming in 3 forms: ultrasound, liquid and foam)
- Endovenous Ablation
- Laser Treatments
- Surgery (for more extreme cases with unusually large varicose veins)
Though the most common way to treat vein problems is with sclerotherapy, Jacksonville area residents should be aware that the treatment plan developed by your doctor will depend heavily on your individual condition. We encourage you to contact our Jacksonville clinic and schedule a consultation with Dr. St. George to discuss your case and determine whether sclerotherapy or another form of treatment is best for you.