Venous Insufficiency

Varicose veins are a medical condition where veins become gnarled and enlarged. While this enlargement may happen to any vein in your body, it’s most likely to affect leg veins or feet veins. This is because standing and walking upright naturally increases pressure in the lower part of your body, and this increased pressure can eventually lead to vein enlargement.

As we age, varicose veins are a natural development. Overtime, your veins may become weak from increased pressure, allowing blood that should be returning to your heart to flow backwards. This blood then pools in your veins, a condition known as venous insufficiency, which leads to vein enlargement. Some pregnant women may also develop varicose veins due to fluctuations in hormone levels and pressure from the fetus on the body. This condition typically reverses itself after the woman gives birth.

Many individuals develop a mild form of varicose veins, commonly known as spider veins. While considered unsightly, they pose little health risk and can often be corrected with compression stockings. As the name suggests, compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs all day. This helps your veins efficiently move blood back to the heart and prevents it from pooling in your legs.

In more severe cases of venous insufficiency, medical treatment may be necessary. Laser surgery, catheter-assisted procedures and sclerotherapy are all different treatment approaches.

For smaller veins, your doctor may use a laser procedure to close off your veins, making them slowly disappear. This non-invasive approach is a popular treatment as no incision or needle is required. For medium-sized varicose veins, your doctor may use sclerotherapy, an approach which injects the vein with a solution that causes it to scar and close, and eventually fade away.

Catheter-assisted procedures are typically used to treat larger veins. A catheter with a heated tip is inserted into the vein. The heat kills the vein causing it to collapse and seal shut.

If you have varicose veins, talk to your doctor about the different treatment options to determine which treatment is best for you. While some insurance companies consider the treatment of varicose veins to be elective, cosmetic surgery, if you suffer from swelling or bleeding, your insurance company may cover treatment costs.

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