Question: My doctor told me not to worry about my leg pain and edema. He said there is no treatment except vein-stripping. What should I do?
Answer: Most doctors are not aware of the risks involved with venous problems. As we age, leg veins can increase the risk of blood clots that can have serious health consequences. The stats don’t lie: Leg problems affect more Americans than any other condition. A recent study shows that up to 60 percent of the US population will eventually have serious issues with leg veins.
Look at your legs and you may see changes that seem to get worse every year. In advanced cases, you may see actual varicose veins, but often the symptoms are subtle. If your legs are swollen and/or discolored, this may indicate you have an abnormal venous condition. Purple discoloration around the ankles indicates that you may have had venous problems for many years. The skin may also become dry and red with inflammation. Left untreated, these areas may progress to ulceration. Although vein and leg problems tend to run in families, venous problems are under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and therefore under-treated.
Most physicians do not focus on this problem and in many cases are not aware of the latest in-office treatments that are rapidly becoming the treatment of choice. Also, I have noticed many physicians are placing patients with edema in knee-high stockings. If you are wearing knee-highs, you may be making the condition worse. Often the stocking will create a tourniquet effect, thus restricting venous return. This makes the edema worse as blood cannot drain from the foot.
Varicose veins may seem like just of cosmetic concern, but they do carry some significant health risks if not treated. Among the conditions that may occur: swelling and heaviness; skin breakdown with itching; bleeding veins; blood clots; and leg ulcers. As the disease progresses, leg ulcers become more difficult to heal. The ulcer will not heal until the veins are untreated. Visit AshtonVeinCenter.com to view before/after photos of our treatment successes. You can also download the book “How to Stop Painful Ugly Legs.” Call our office at 561-630-6800 to schedule a FREE evaluation. You deserve a great pair of legs!
Dr. Thomas Ashton is Board Certified in venous treatments and, as a general surgeon, has vast experience in the latest laser techniques available. He has performed more than 4,000 laser and combined vein procedures.
Ashton Vein Center
4270 Design Center Dr.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410