Top 10 Questions And Answers About Varicose Veins
When it comes to seeking medical attention, one of the biggest obstacles is fear and misinformation.
Either you don’t know what to expect so you shy away from seeing a doctor or specialist, or you’ve heard some horrible thing that makes you take a bit of a “head in the sand” approach.
But when it comes to varicose veins and venous disorders, neglecting to receive medical attention can have dire consequences, from the less minor like pain and ulcers in the leg or affected area, to more serious threats like blood clots, pulmonary embolism and death.
That doesn’t have to be you – take charge of your health by educating yourself, and remember, any good vein specialist will be more than willing to educate you, too. These are some of the top questions we hear repeatedly from new patients.
1. Will My Insurance Cover Treatment Costs?
Yes, they should. While you’ll want to check to be certain, varicose veins are considered a medical condition and as such their treatment is covered by insurance. Be mindful though, some insurance companies require more conservative treatments such as wearing compression stockings prior to receiving a procedure like laser therapy or sclerotherapy. Your doctor or specialist will be able to advise you and ensure you get the proper treatment.
2. When Should I See A Doctor About My Veins?
The tricky thing about varicose veins is they aren’t always symptomatic – and when they are, symptoms tend to be associated with other ailments like too much exercise or even dry winter skin.
There are three good times to see your doctor for an Ultrasound:
- If you see visible signs of varicose veins in your legs, arms or other parts of your body. They will appear close to the surface of the skin and often ropy and bulging.
- If you experience any of the following symptoms: persistent restless or aching legs, skin discoloration, dry, itchy skin, a heavy feeling in the legs, or a burning or throbbing sensation.
- If you fall into one or more high risk groups including those with a genetic predisposition to varicose veins, those who are smokers, obese, frequent travelers or have a job that requires extensive periods of sitting or standing. If you fall into a high risk group you may never experience symptoms and in fact may never develop varicose veins. But regular Ultrasounds can ensure that you’re protecting your health and well being by catching concerns before they become problems.
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3. Does Treatment Hurt?
Long gone are the days of painful surgeries where varicose veins were literally ripped from the body, leaving patients quite often in a great deal of pain with long recoveries.
Current technology has allowed for treatments that are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures. They can be managed with a local anesthetic for an experience that is no more painful than having a cavity filled at the dentist. And afterwards, if you experience any pain at all, it can be managed easily with an over the counter painkiller.
When it comes to pain, everyone’s tolerance is different and to some, even a mild discomfort can be threatening. Rest assured that an experienced vein specialist will be able to conduct any procedure with minimal discomfort, so be sure to find someone qualified whom you trust.
4. What Should I Expect During My Initial Evaluation?
When you see a doctor or specialist for the first time about your condition, you may be worried about what will happen before you have a chance to make a decision. But fear not, your initial visit will be an exam that will help establish the precise nature of your condition and give your doctor a chance to discuss treatment options with you.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and an Ultrasound, which is a completely non-invasive and pain-procedure and then consult with you to answer questions.
5. What’s The Difference Between Spider Veins And Varicose Veins?
Although they may appear similar in appearance, spider veins and varicose veins are fundamentally different. Where varicose veins are a medical condition, spider veins are a cosmetic blemish.
Varicose veins can have a negative impact on your health but spider veins will only affect your ego.
For those looking for a cosmetic improvement, it’s important to know that most insurance will not cover treatment of spider veins. But if you do choose treatment, it will be similar to that of varicose veins and can include laser therapy, sclerotherary or radiofrequency.
One word of caution: while spider veins pose no medical threat, they can sometimes be a sign of a deeper underlying problem so it’s not a bad idea to get them checked out anyway.
6. Is There A Long Recovery Period After Treatment?
Nowadays with outpatient procedures like sclerotherapy, laser therapy and radiofrequency, you can not only be in and out of your doctor’s office in an hour or two, but you can get back to work and regular activities immediately.
That’s good news for the active folks – not such good news for anyone looking for a little extra sympathy and a day off from work.
You doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activity for a couple of days but otherwise your recovery period is nearly nonexistent.
7. Will Varicose Veins Disappear After Treatment?
Current treatment procedures have somewhere between a 90% and 98% success rate when it comes to reducing the visible appearance of varicose veins, with laser therapy being one of the most successful.
However, keep in mind that this is a chronic condition so once you get varicose veins you are more likely to get them again. So even though the original treated veins will never reappear and the appearance of your skin will improve immensely, you may have a reoccurrence of new varicose veins in the future.
The good news is that now that you know what to expect you won’t be hesitant to have them treated immediately.
8. What Are The Symptoms Of Varicose Veins?
As mentioned earlier in this article, varicose veins can present with no symptoms at all or they can appear as large, ugly veins bulging through the surface of your skin.
In between those two extremes are the subtler symptoms of restless, aching and tired legs, swelling, itching and discoloration.
And even though varicose veins are most commonly associated with the legs, they can also appear in arms, chest and anywhere in the body.
9. Will I Need Surgery?
Absolutely not. Surgery is a defunct method of removing varicose veins that should almost never be considered as a modern treatment option. You can avoid the overnight stay, the anesthesia, pain and recovery with a painless and fast outpatient procedure that will be even more effective than surgery.
10. What Will Happen If I Don’t Get Treatment?
Hopefully by now you’ve read enough to convince you that getting treatment is neither painful nor frightening. A good specialist will make you feel comfortable both emotionally and physically. But if you’re feeling particularly stubborn, you should understand that leaving varicose veins untreated can have dire consequences.
When blood cannot flow effectively, you risk clotting, which can then lead to further complications that can result in death.
Eventually, you may find it difficult to live with the pain of your condition. You may also develop serious skin discoloration and ulcers. Skin rashes, itching, inflammation and aching can also continue to increase.
If you suffer from a nerve condition, varicose veins can aggravate it further.
To put it simply, this is not a condition that should go ignored. See your doctor if you suspect symptoms or if you’re in a high risk group for varicose veins. A simple Ultrasound can save you hours, years and a lifetime of pain and discomfort.
If you still have questions about varicose veins then ask us at Center for Vein Restoration. We’re here to help get to the bottom of your concerns so you can take charge of your healthy today.