Olympic Athletes get Varicose Veins, Too

Even You Can Develop Varicose Veins in MariettaWhen we think of those suffering from venous disorders such as varicose veins and spider veins, Marietta’s older, less-active crowd may be the first to come to mind. However, many aren’t aware that vein issues like varicose veins just don’t occur in the old and inactive—they can happen to anyone, including Olympic Athletes. Winner of four medals—two of which were gold—in swimming at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Summer Sanders thought living the healthy lifestyle of an Olympic athlete would help keep venous disorders like varicose veins at bay.

Sanders first realized the appearance of her varicose veins while she was pregnant with her son. At first, she found herself in denial of the situation—after all, how could someone young, active and living a healthy lifestyle develop such a condition? She quickly overcame her shock when she learned that nearly 30 million Americans, both male and female, also suffer from varicose veins. Sanders was also aware that her varicose veins weren’t just an unfortunate cosmetic issue—it was actually a sign of venous disease and a vein system that was functioning improperly.

Oftentimes, most sufferers of varicose veins aren’t aware of their condition until the symptoms of bulging, pain and swelling make themselves known after prolonged periods of standing. For instance, Sanders herself had varicose veins for years, but it wasn’t until March of this year, when she was on her feet for several days visiting theme parks with her family, that she noticed their associated pain. She became more aware of the discomfort the veins brought as she had to stop several times on the drive home just to stand, shake her leg and massage her calf.

Veins Unfit for a Champion

Sanders would soon attend the Olympics in London this year as a correspondent for Yahoo! and knew she had to something about her varicose veins. Her decision to seek minimally invasive treatment for vein removal was not for the cosmetic reasons of being on national television, but because she would be on her feet all day every day for 20 days straight at the games.

Sanders’ enlightening encounter with her varicose veins inspired her to launch an educational campaign to encourage those suffering from the venous condition to learn more about the disorder and speak to their vein specialists about treatment. The campaign is called Rethink Varicose Veins and it was quickly joined by the Society for Vascular Surgery, the American Venous Forum and the American College of Phlembology. Dr. Perry, your vascular surgeon in Marietta, has had the honor of training with Dr. Sheshadri, one of the world’s authorities on venous disease and former president of the American Venous Forum.

Sanders is proud to lead her educational campaign and hopes to shed light on the real story behind varicose veins—that people of all walks of life—young and old, male and female, Olympian and human—are susceptible to this venous disorder. Though heredity is a major risk for potential incidence of varicose veins, standing or sitting for extended periods of time, being overweight or pregnant and having a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are all risk factors. Take it from an Olympic gold-medal champion and your vein specialist—varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue and you don’t have to live with them anymore.

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