Varicose Veins FAQs | Jacksonville
Click any of the questions below to see our answer.What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are unusually swelled superficial blood vessels most commonly found in the thigh or leg. These swelled vessels connect with the deep veins in the leg and play a part in the blood flow to the heart. Varicose veins are normally colored blue, but can sometimes be red or flesh colored. Among pregnant women, varicose blood vessels can also show up in the pelvic and vaginal areas.
Varicose or spider veins are caused by an undue amount of stress to certain areas of the body, most notably the abdomen and legs. This causes the blood vessels in that area to become weak and function improperly, creating the swelling and bulging that creates the varicose condition. The lower part of the body is the most at risk for varicose veins because the blood flow from the veins to the heart is upstream. For this reason, the veins/vessels in the lower part of the body need to be in optimal condition to perform this function effectively. When they begin to weaken, they become more at risk for the varicose condition.
The demographic most at risk for varicose veins is adult women. This is because women undergo hormonal changes when they reach puberty, menopause and when they are going through a pregnancy. These changes can have adverse effects on veins in certain parts of the body. Another demographic that carries a high risk of vein problems is persons over age 50. As we age, our blood vessels naturally weaken, putting the vessels in the lower part of the body at a greater risk for malfunctioning.
It should also be noted that people living in Jacksonville and similarly warm climates where the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest are more likely to end up with varicose veins due to over-exposure from the sun.
Aside from the obvious vein bulging that occurs, there are several other symptoms of varicose veins, including:
- Pain in the legs from aches or cramps
- Feelings of leg heaviness, fatigue, throbs, burns, itching, and legs becoming restless. These feelings can be further aggravated by extended periods where the person is on their feet
- Ulcers or sores
- Darkened skin color (most common after having the condition for a prolonged period of time)
Though varicose veins cannot be totally prevented in all cases, there are some things that Jacksonville area residents can do to lower the risk of ending up with this disease, including:
- Regular leg exercises such as running or walking
- Keeping your weight under control
- Elevating your legs while taking a rest
- Following a diet with foods that are high in fiber to reduce constipation and low in salt to reduce vein swelling
- Wearing sunscreen that is strong enough to shield your skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays
- Not wearing high-heeled shoes for extended periods of time
- Not wearing tight clothes that may constrict your legs, waist or groin
- Not sitting or standing in one place for too long
Please note: For those who have an occupation that requires them to sit or stand for long periods of time, it is highly recommended that when standing, you shift weight from one leg to another every few minutes, and when sitting, you get up every half hour or so to stretch and walk around.
A varicose vein left untreated can sometimes be just a cosmetic nuisance. On the other hand, it can lead to further health concerns, such as:
- Profuse bleeding caused by injury to the vein
- Blood clots
- Inflammation and tenderization of the vein
- Dryness and itchiness to the skin around the vein
- Brownish and/or darkened skin around the affected area
- Venous ulceration
The diagnostic process at St. Johns Vein Center in Jacksonville starts with an initial exam in which Dr. St. George carefully examines your legs, abdomen and pelvic areas for any abnormal veins. Upon completion, the doctor may decide that further testing is needed to determine the cause of the abnormal veins and the best treatment options.
St. Johns Vein Center has a number of varicose vein treatments Jacksonville residents can benefit from. They include:
- Compression Hose (conservative treatment)
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy
- Endovenous Ablation
After all the necessary testing is complete, Dr. St. George will be able to advise you what treatment will work best for your vein problems.
If you are experiencing one or more of the common symptoms of varicose veins, we encourage you to contact our Jacksonville, FL clinic and learn more about how we can help you get rid of this problem. At St. Johns Vein Center, we want to help you to put this medical condition behind you and move on with your life. We appreciate your business and we look forward to serving you.