Fact & Fiction

Dispelling Misperceptions about Vein Disease

Many people have misperceptions about vein disease. Here are some of the most common erroneous notions and the actual facts:

Misperception: Leg discomfort is a normal part of aging.

Fact: Pain, heaviness, swelling, or fatigue in the legs is abnormal at any age. However, untreated vein problems do worsen with age because your veins are in a constant battle against two powerful enemies: time and gravity. If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, you should consult a vein specialist.

Misperception: Vein diseases aren’t particularly important or serious.

Fact: Vein diseases are a tremendous health problem. According to the American College of Phlebology, varicose and spider veins affect more than 80 million adult Americans. Because of vein disease, it’s estimated that in the United States alone more than 4.6 million work days are lost each year.

But that’s just the beginning. The most significant burden is borne by the affected individuals and their families.

  • Patients with varicose veins and venous insufficiency problems run serious long-term risks of blood clot, phlebitis, and pulmonary embolism. These can be life-threatening concerns.
  • Leg pain and swelling can cause significant discomfort. In advanced cases, these disabilities can interfere with work and other important aspects of life.
  • Venous insufficiency problems seem to be worsening in recent years, especially among women. Perhaps that’s because Americans today typically spend less time walking and exercising, and more time sitting at desks, in cars, and in front of televisions. Some medical authorities have labeled the increase in vein disease an epidemic.
  • Vein disease can develop into wounds, especially in the lower legs, that can be extremely debilitating and stubborn to treat.
  • Vein disease can cause rashes, discoloring of skin, and severe scarring of skin and soft tissue.
  • Unsightly vein disease can seriously damage self-esteem and impair quality of life.
  • Vein disease is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Even many physicians are unaware of the significance of these health problems.

Misperception: Vein disease treatments are painful and scarring.

Fact: Many of the old methods for treating vein problems were painful, and some left unsightly scars. The “vein-stripping” procedures previously used to treat varicose veins are one example. The hypertonic-saline injections once used to treat spider veins are another.

But times have changed! The open, invasive vein operations of past years have been superseded by minimally invasive techniques that leave virtually no scars, even in the most advanced cases of varicose veins. And today’s procedures—which utilize laser surgery, ultrasound guidance, and other technological advances—entail little discomfort.

Misperception: Vein treatments are often ineffective and short-lived.

Fact: A decade ago vein surgery was indeed far less effective. After treatment for varicose veins, upwards of 85 to 90 percent of patients experienced a recurrence of the disease sometime during their lifetimes.

Although it’s still somewhat true that venous insufficiency can never be completely cured, when procedures are performed by experienced and capable physicians using modern techniques, the statistics are reversed. Instead of a recurrence rate of 90 percent, 90 percent or better of varicose vein patients may never need further treatment.

Similar good news applies to spider veins. Today, a good series of spider vein treatments by an experienced medical practitioner utilizing state-of-the-art techniques can clear 98 percent or more of the disease. And such treatments may prevent 85 percent or more of abnormal veins from recurring. The great majority of vein patients have good lifetime benefits, though occasional follow-up treatments should be considered.

Call 912-267-9550 today to schedule a complimentary consultation or contact us with any questions.

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