By: Dr. Nitzberg, Head of Vein Center, Summit Medical Group New Jersey

Did you know that millions of Americans suffer from vein issues and that the summer months only intensify problems for those suffering? From high heat that amplifies symptoms to leg-baring outfits that increase self-consciousness, the summer season brings about a brand new set of challenges for vein condition victims.

Vein Health
This Q & A feature covers some of the more common vein conditions, potential causes, and his thoughts on how those suffering can ease the difficulty of living with vein conditions, especially during the warmer months. If you would like more detailed, personalized information or advice, schedule an appointment with the Summit Medical Group Oregon – BMC Vein Clinic for a screening with one of our experienced professionals. Our full-service Vein Clinic offers a full range of treatments for varicose, spider, and reticular vein issues.

Q. What are the most common vein conditions?

The three most common vein conditions are spider veinsreticular veins, and varicose veins. These conditions are symptoms of superficial venous insufficiency—a condition where the venous flow spends time going in the wrong direction. This ineffective flow causes blood to pool in the leg veins and results in these superficial vein conditions.

 

Spider Veins

Q. What are spider veins?

Spider veins are small, discolored (red, blue or purple) veins that are visible through the skin when standing or sitting. They are generally found on the legs, chest, or face and appear as short jagged lines that resemble spider webs or tree branches.

Q. Who is most likely to be affected?

Anyone can get spider veins and up to a quarter of the adult population is afflicted by them. If you have a family history of spider veins, you are more likely to get them yourself.

Q. Is there pain or risks involved with having spider veins?

There are typically no symptoms with spider veins, although some people may experience minimal discomfort.

Q. Is there a cure or treatment for spider veins?

Spider veins do not usually cause medical problems, but they can be treated cosmetically with injections or with laser treatments.

 

Reticular Veins

Q. What are reticular veins?

Reticular veins are non-bulging, dilated, blue/green veins beneath the skin that may form in areas such as the thighs legs, and ankles. They are smaller than varicose veins and do not protrude above the skin but are larger than spider veins.

Q. Who is most likely to be affected?
Both men and women can be affected by reticular veins. They are generally hereditary and seen in patients who have a family history of any type of vein condition.

Q. Is there pain or risks involved with having reticular veins?

Reticular veins may cause pain and discomfort such as tenderness, burning or itching. They can also contribute to the appearance of spider veins and therefore are referred to as feeder veins.

Q. Is there a cure or treatment for reticular veins?

Although there is no absolute cure for reticular veins, they can often be eradicated with sclerotherapy.

 

Varicose Veins

Q. What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are large, bulging (blue or purple) veins that can be seen protruding through the skin.

Q. Who is most likely to be affected?

Both men and women can be affected by varicose veins—approximately 1 in 4 adults. Varicose veins are generally hereditary and seen in patients who have a family history of any type of vein condition. Pregnancy and weight gain often exacerbate symptoms in patients with varicose veins.

Q. Can they be prevented?

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins, but compression stockings and elevation can help to reduce any symptoms associated with the veins.

Q. Is there pain or risks involved with having varicose veins?

Many patients with varicose veins complain of heaviness or a tired feeling in their legs. They may also complain of swelling, cramping, aching, and burning. Pain from varicose veins can be alleviated by elevating the legs or by wearing compression stockings. Varicose veins are typically not harmful but there are exceptions. If you have varicose veins, your risk of blood clots increases. There are two types of blood clots that can appear in varicose veins: superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The risk of DVT in patients with varicose veins is only slightly higher than the normal population (those without varicose veins).

Q. Can heat affect varicose veins?

Yes, heat can worsen the veins appearance but can also increase the symptoms associated with them.

Q. Is there a cure or treatment for varicose veins?

If a patient has no symptoms, and is not bothered by their varicose veins, treatment may not be necessary. However, treatment may be necessary to reduce pain and address any possible complications or cosmetic worries. To get rid of varicose veins, you must seek treatment from a vein specialist for surgery. Treatment may involve injection, laser treatment or both.

 

General Vein Health

Q. What can I do to keep my veins healthy this summer?

While it’s impossible to completely avoid the hot summer temperatures, you can support your vein health through a fit, active lifestyle. Summer is a great time to be active.

  • Walking and swimming are great ways to help circulation and relieve pressure on the legs.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Compression stockings could also help prevent and manage symptoms. Fortunately, they have been redesigned for improved breathability and fashion, so you can look good (hide existing veins and prevent future ones) and feel good too!
  • Self-tanner may help hide diminish the appearance of unsightly veins.

 

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