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Myths About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins affect more than one-quarter of the American population. So it’s likely that you have them, or you know a few people who have them. It is also likely that you or your friends have shared some information about varicose veins and other venous disorders, some of which may not be true. Let’s discuss some myths about varicose veins.

Myths About Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura, CA

Common Myths About Varicose Veins

It is important that you have accurate information about varicose veins for a proper self-diagnosis, and to know when to seek professional help. Here are a few common misconceptions about varicose veins to enhance your understanding of the condition:

1. Varicose veins occur because of crossing your legs

Crossing your legs is not one of the risk factors of varicose veins. In itself, it cannot weaken or damage your valves, which is what causes blood to pool in certain veins and cause them to bulge. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, on the other hand, are known risk factors.

2. Varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern

Bulging blue veins are undoubtedly unsightly, and likely to make you conscious about wearing attire that might reveal them. However, people with varicose veins eventually develop symptoms such as cramping, throbbing, dull achiness, and heaviness in the legs. Moreover, failure to treat varicose veins can lead to bigger problems including blood clots and leg ulcers. Early treatment helps to prevent any discomfort and higher treatment costs.

3. Varicose veins only occur in old age

Although aging is one of the risk factors of varicose veins, it can affect people of all ages depending on other factors such as genetics, obesity, or change in hormone levels due to pregnancy.

Treating Varicose Veins

There are also some misconceptions about the treatment of varicose veins. For instance, some people claim that the only way to treat them is through surgical stripping, some argue that the treatments are painful and expensive, and others say that there’s no point in treating them since they’ll return.

Fortunately for you, none of these claims are true. Today, there are many modern, non-invasive and painless treatments that help to detect all diseased veins – including those that are not visible on the surface of the skin – so the root of the problem is treated to prevent future recurrences. You only need to discuss with your vein specialist about the best treatment for your case.

Varicose Vein Consultation in Los Angeles & Ventura County

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and vein treatment options. We have multiple locations in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

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Common Professions That Put You at Higher Risk for Varicose Veins

Healthy veins rely on muscle contraction and valves to keep blood flowing forward – and against gravity – in your legs. But when these valves weaken, blood can begin to flow backwards and pool in the veins that are close to the surface of the skin, resulting in varicose veins.

Professions with Higher Risk for Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Ventura

There are certain risk factors for varicose veins, including genetics, weight gain, gender, age, and prolonged standing or sitting. This means that people who work in professions that require them to spend a lot of time behind a desk or on their feet are at risk of developing varicose veins.

Some high-risk professions include:

1. Nursing

Nurses spend hours on their feet, care for one patient after the other. Moving around is not necessarily bad as it engages the leg muscles, which helps to push blood in the veins. But since they spend more time in a stationary position than in motion, the veins in their legs are forced to work hard against gravity, causing them to wear out faster than normal. This increases the risk of varicose veins.

2. Food and beverage service industry

From chefs to waiters to bartenders, these occupations require you to spend a lot of time on your feet either preparing meals/drinks or attending to patrons, with minimal movement especially during off-peak hours.

3. Office work

Any kind of work that requires you to sit at your desk for extended periods puts you at risk of developing varicose veins.

4. Hairdressing

Hair stylists and barbers spend a lot of time on their feet with minimal movement, which translates to minimal leg muscle movement and high risk of varicose veins.

5. Teaching

Teachers have one of the most sedentary lifestyles because they’re either sitting or standing, often beyond work hours when reviewing their students’ work, which puts them at considerable risk for varicose veins.

How to Avoid Varicose Veins

Although it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of varicose veins, you can slow down their progression by taking a few precautionary steps, such as scheduling regular breaks to walk around, maintaining healthy weight, and wearing custom compression stockings as advised by your vein specialist.

Varicose Vein Consultation in Los Angeles & Ventura County

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and vein treatment options. We have multiple locations in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

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Vein Center vs Hospital

Vein specialists usually operate in a vein center that is independent from other medical fields, and only deals with cases involving vein disorders, such as varicose veins, spider veins, deep thrombosis, and chronic venous insufficiency, among others.

Vein Center vs Hospital | Los Angeles & Ventura County Vein Specialist

When faced with a specific health problem that requires specialized care, your general physician is likely to refer you to a specialist in that field for proper diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, when suffering from a venous disorder, you can always consult a general practitioner for temporary relief. But to address the root of the problem, you need to visit a specialist who has the expertise to ensure your complete recovery.

What to Expect From a Vein Center

These facilities focus solely on the diagnosis and treatment of problems related to the veins. The physician usually goes through extra training and certification to perform advanced vein procedures such as sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, ultrasound-guided ablation, and wound care, among others.

Although you can also find highly skilled physicians who specialize in certain, relevant areas and have experience treating vein conditions in a hospital, you are likely to encounter one of two situations: either the medical professional handles a wide range of issues on a daily basis, and cannot adequately keep up with the newest treatments in vein conditions, or the physician focus on only one area of specialty, like ambulatory phlebectomy, which may not necessarily be the best treatment for your case.

On the other hand, a vein specialist handles cases involving problematic veins on a daily basis. Visiting a vein center gives you the best chance of having your problem diagnosed correctly and treated using the newest procedures for the most satisfactory results.

Moreover, certified vein specialists are dedicated to pursuing continuing education to maintain their membership. This means that they regularly review and update their equipment, procedures, and patient care tactics for your benefit.

Center for Vein Wellness in Los Angeles & Ventura County

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and vein treatment options. We have multiple locations in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

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What Are The Safest Varicose Vein Removal Procedures?

When it comes to varicose vein removal, most procedures are safe when performed by an experienced specialist. Traditionally, physicians and surgeons relied on a surgical process known as vein stripping to remove troublesome veins. But this procedure is no longer recommended because there are safer and more effective alternatives with no downtime.

What Are The Safest Varicose Vein Removal Procedures? | Vein Specialist

Today, patients have several options for non-invasive treatments for the varicose vein removal, including:


This is a painless procedure that involves the physician injecting a solution (sclerosant) into the varicose vein to cause it to collapse and divert blood flow to healthier veins. There are different types of sclerotherapy, as follows:

  • Liquid sclerotherapy – recommended to treat spider veins
  • Foam sclerotherapy – recommended for the treatment of larger veins because foam sclerosant travels further than the liquid solution. This is the most advanced and least invasive treatment for small to medium size varicose veins and/or spider veins
  • Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy – used to treat large, deep veins that would typically require surgical treatment

Your body gradually destroys the collapsed vein, causing it to disappear in a few weeks. The procedure is painless and has no downtime.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This procedure requires the physician to transmit radio frequency energy (radio waves) through the vein wall. First the skin is numbed, and then the vein is cannulated with a needle, after which a catheter is introduced in the vein to heat it from the inside, destroying the vein wall. The doctor uses an ultrasound to help guide the catheter, usually from the knee towards the groin. The damaged vein is eventually reabsorbed by the body and disappears in few months.

Laser Ablation

The physician uses a similar process as with radiofrequency ablation, except using laser energy to deliver the heat. Ablation is recommended for the treatment of straight leg veins.

What to Expect

Although these treatments are generally safe and effective, you should discuss the best option with your vein specialist depending on your specific case. Things such as medications, allergies, chronic conditions, and pregnancy, among others can complicate your treatment and recovery if the physician is not aware of them beforehand. Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and varicose vein treatment options.

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The Top Mistakes in Varicose Vein Treatment

For seemingly simple and straightforward procedures, it is surprising that not all varicose vein treatments are successful. These purple, bulging or ropey blood vessels may be unsightly, but they don’t necessarily cause pain or any serious symptoms. Unfortunately, this may cause some physicians to handle your case like any other without trying to identify the underlying problem, resulting in unsatisfactory results.

The Top 5 Mistakes in Varicose Vein Treatment | Los Angeles & Ventura

Here are some common mistakes in varicose vein treatment to watch out for to ensure that you get good results:

Incomplete Initial Examination

If your varicose veins don’t cause any pain, your physician may fail to perform proper and complete assessment of the troublesome veins. For instance, the physician may skip the use of ultrasound to examine the underlying veins, or delegate some of the assessments to other members of the staff who may not have the skills or knowledge to perform proper diagnosis.

Postponing the Treatment

Although the symptoms for varicose veins are not severe, you should keep in mind that they won’t go away by themselves. In fact, they will keep getting worse with time. So if you notice some aching, swelling, throbbing, or heaviness in the affected limb, it is important that you visit a vein specialist as soon as possible to prevent the problem from escalating.

Wrong Treatment

This is usually the result of improper diagnosis or visiting a physician who does not have experience handling such cases. There are two likely scenarios:

  • First, the physician may choose to perform an older treatment that he/she is more familiar with, such as surgical vein stripping or ligation, instead of less invasive treatments that are safer and more effective, such as thermal ablation or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
  • Second, the physician may choose the wrong treatment for your case, perhaps if you are concerned about the cost. For instance, although sclerotherapy is cheaper than other treatments, it is not recommended for treating large varicose veins because of the increased risk of soreness, hyperpigmentation, inflammation and recurrence.

Vein Treatment from Center for Vein Wellness

If you have vein problems, you should have them checked out by a physician with expertise in the field. A vein specialist is unlikely to make such mistakes, and will be current with the newest treatments to increase the chances of satisfactory results. Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and varicose vein treatment options.

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Types of Venous Diseases

Your veins work hard everyday, fighting against gravity to return blood to the heart. But with age, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, and prolonged sitting and standing, the veins in your legs can expand, making the valves ineffective in preventing backflow. Let’s discuss the different types of venous diseases.

Types of Venous Diseases

Blood flow in the veins depends on muscle contraction to open the valves so blood can flow forward. When the muscles expand, the valves shut preventing blood from flowing backwards. But when some valves fail to close properly, blood begins to flow backwards – a condition known as reflux.

Types of Venous Diseases

This may in turn cause blood to pool in some veins, resulting in a number of venous diseases with varying symptoms and treatment options. Common vascular diseases include:

1. Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

When blood begins to pool in the main valves, it is redirected to smaller veins that sit closer to the surface of the skin to maintain blood flow. With the increased blood supply, these veins dilate and swell to appear like blue-purple, ropy bulges under the skin – referred to as varicose veins. They usually appear on your legs.

Smaller blood vessels – capillaries – can also be affected, appearing like small red-purple bursts on your thighs, knees, or calves. These are known as spider veins.

Varicose and spider veins are unattractive to look at, but are seldom painful. You may choose to get them removed for aesthetic purposes, or when they begin to cause pain and discomfort.

2. Blood Clots

Expanded veins and damaged valves often cause blood to flow slowly, causing it to pool, stick to the inner walls of the veins, and form clots. The clots in your veins are referred to as venous thromboembolisms, and are usually caused by:

  • Any condition that reduces the blood flow rate or thickens blood, like some tumors or congestive heart failure
  • Damaged veins due to infection or injury
  • Damaged endothelium – vein lining
  • Damaged valves inside the vein
  • Some hormones, including estrogen due to the use of birth control pills or pregnancy
  • Immobility, like due to prolonged bed rest
  • Genetic disorders that make your blood clot
  • Insufficient blood-thinning proteins (anticoagulant)
  • Surgical procedures on your legs and hips

If the clot develops in a vein near the surface of the skin, it is referred to as phlebitis or superficial venous thrombosis.

If the clot forms in a large vein inside the thigh, lower leg, or pelvis, it is referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If the clot breaks away from the vein wall and reaches your lungs, it is referred to as pulmonary embolism.

3. Chronic Venous Insufficiency

If no intervention is made to correct deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the prolonged blood pooling can cause your legs to swell and experience pain or pressure. This condition is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency.

You should visit a vein specialist immediately before internal fluids begin to leak into your feet and ankle tissues, which may break down your skin and cause it to wear away and darken.

4. Ulcers

These are the open sores or wounds caused by static blood flow that refuse to heal completely or keep returning. They usually manifest as venous stasis ulcers, which are found deep inside the leg, above the ankle.

When to See a Vein Specialist

Unfortunately, defective veins or venous valves that cause any of these diseases cannot be fixed or replaced. The only fix is removal through minimally invasive procedures, or valve repair for post-thrombotic syndrome.

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and venous disease treatment options.

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Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins

Compression therapy involves the use of compression socks or stockings to promote healthy blood circulation in your legs and feet. The elastic hosiery is designed so it’s tightest at the ankle and loosens gradually higher on the leg. They work by compressing surface veins, which helps to maintain steady blood flow back to the heart.

Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins

Compression stockings are a form of self-care therapy for varicose veins, spider veins, and chronic venous insufficiency. Your physician may recommend them during the day to help relieve serious symptoms of varicose veins, including:

  • Fatigue and pain
  • Aching or heavy legs
  • Restless legs
  • Swollen ankles
  • Night cramps

Mild symptoms of swelling and aching can be successfully managed using regular, cost-effective thigh-high, knee-high, or panty hose compression stockings.

How Compression Therapy Works

Your veins function best when lying in a horizontal position as opposed to when standing or sitting, especially when your valves are damaged. In the mornings, your calves and ankles usually feel fine, and only get heavy and swollen later in the day.

If you wear your compression socks in the morning before lowering your legs to get out of bed, you can maintain the proper function of the valves, promoting healthy blood flow in your legs all day.

Finding the Right Compression Level

As effective as compression therapy may be for managing varicose veins symptoms, you should avoid wearing the socks unless your doctor recommends them and helps you find the right fit for you. If you choose the wrong size, the socks can restrict blood flow, making the symptoms worse.

The different levels of compression include:

  • Mild compression – for mild cases of chronic venous insufficiency
  • Moderate compression – help to manage common symptoms of varicose or spider veins
  • Firm or extra firm compression – recommended for serious venous diseases like leg ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, and lymphatic edema

Choosing the right compression level is vital for successful compression therapy and optimal comfort. Your physician can help you find the best size for your case.

Learn More »

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Varicose Veins Symptoms

Leg veins have a difficult task propelling blood against gravity and resistance from your bodyweight, back to your heart. They rely on muscle contraction and expansion to push the blood, while the valves prevent the backflow of blood. Varicose veins symptoms may start to appear with age.

The valves can weaken and stop functioning properly. This may in turn cause the blood to flow backwards, pool in the superficial veins – those closer to the surface of the skin – and make those blood vessels bigger.

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Varicose Veins Symptoms

If the affected veins do not cause any pain or discomfort, you can tell that they’re varicose veins if:

  • They appear dark blue or purple in color
  • They are bulging and twisted – appear like cords running on the surface of your legs

In some cases, varicose veins may cause discomfort in the form of:

  • Itching around the veins
  • Swelling and throbbing, burning, muscle cramping in the lower legs
  • Heavy feeling in the legs – achy
  • Increased pain after prolonged sitting or standing
  • Red skin discoloration with a throbbing cord inside the vein
  • Minor bleeding from the varicose veins – when they burst
  • Vein hardening, color changes, and skin inflammation or ulcers around the ankle, all of which indicate a more serious vascular disease

Varicose veins can also cause complications. Though very rare, you can experience:

  • Blood clots – In very rare cases, the veins deep inside your legs can also become enlarged, causing blood clots that make the leg swell significantly. This condition is medically referred to as deep venous thrombosis and needs immediate medical attention.
  • Ulcers – Prolonged fluid buildup in the tissues near varicose veins around the ankles, due to the increased blood pressure within affected veins, can cause very painful ulcers to form. Ulcers are usually preceded by a discolored spot on your skin, at which point you should seek immediate attention.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Although you cannot completely keep varicose veins from forming, those at high risk – due to family history, age, obesity, or jobs that involve extended sitting or standing – can reduce the risk by improving circulation through exercising, adjusting your sitting and standing position regularly, elevating your legs when sitting, and wearing compression stockings. If self-care doesn’t help, you should see a doctor.

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Doctors with Board Certification

First, it is important to note that board certification in any medical specialty in the US is a voluntary process. Medical licensure is primarily used to indicate the minimum requirements for competency in order to diagnose and treat patients in a specific specialty.

Board Certification

Board Certification vs. Medical License

A physician must have a medical license to lawfully practice medicine. This requires the doctor to fulfill the certain requirements including:

  • Successfully completing a certified program in a recognized medical school
  • Fulfilling residency requirements
  • Passing the exams indicated by your state to practice medicine
  • Approval by your state’s medical board

If a medical practitioner is board-certified, he or she has exceptional expertise in a specific specialty and/or subspecialty in the field of medicine.

Prior to certification, the physician has to go through a rigorous process of tests and peer evaluations designed and administered by other specialists in the same field of medicine, in addition to fulfilling the requirements of licensure.

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) was established in 1933, and has 24 member boards comprising multiple medicine specialties and subspecialties.

Although board certification is voluntary, it is vital because it keeps the specialty/subspecialty current through:

  • Participation in continuing education to remain current with the newest advances in the medical field of specialty
  • Participation in ongoing training to keep current on best practices in providing quality health care, patient safety, and establishing a patient-oriented and responsive environment

Dr. Shah is Triple Board Cerified

Dr. Shah is a diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, formerly the American Board of Phlebology. He is one of the few physicians nationwide who is certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, demonstrating expertise in the understanding and treatment of venous conditions. In 2005, the American Medical Association (AMA) recognized Phlebology as a separate self-designated specialty. The American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine was established in 2007 to improve the standards of medical practitioners and the quality of care related to the treatment of venous disease. He is a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI), certified by American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

You can trust that Dr. Shah is dedicated to his field and will provide the best possible care through lifelong learning.

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What to Look in a Physician When Treating Varicose Veins

When dealing with unsightly varicose or spider veins or the more serious venous ulcers and blood clots, you need the help of a skilled physician, preferably one with specialized training to ensure you get proper diagnosis and treatment.

What to Look in a Physician When Treating Varicose Veins

What to Look in a Physician

If you are considering varicose vein treatment, here are a few key qualities you can use to identify a great vein doctor:

1. Education and Certification

This is one of the first things that you should find out when choosing a vein doctor to ensure that you get the care you need. A doctor who is board-certified in Phlebology will give you peace of mind knowing that your diagnosis and treatment will be both safe and effective. These certifications prove that the physician has received the necessary training and is qualified to deliver high quality care for a wide range of vascular diseases, including varicose veins.

2. Experience

It helps if you know how successful the physician has been in previous, similar procedures. There are several treatment options for varicose veins, and you may not necessarily be a good candidate for all of them. If your physician is only comfortable performing one type of treatment that is not necessarily the most effective for your specific case, then you will be keeping yourself from receiving the best care possible – yet you’ll probably end up paying the same.

3. Good Communication

To receive the best treatment for any condition, you need to be open with your physician. It is important that you feel comfortable enough with your vein doctor to reveal essential information about your health, family history, and lifestyle truthfully. Working with a friendly physician and team increases the likelihood of making honest and pleasant conversations when receiving your treatment.

4. Convenience

Keep in mind that varicose treatments are usually administered in a series of appointments over several months. So you need to find a skilled vein specialist near you to make your treatments convenient.

Why Choose the Center for Vein Wellness?

Finding the right physician to treat your case of varicose veins requires a bit of research to find a vein specialist with the right combination of education, experience, and compassion to deliver the highest quality of care you deserve.

Dr. Shah of the Center for Vein Wellness has the training, credentials, and experience, backed by numerous testimonials from patients who he has successfully treated.

While many vein centers only provide cosmetic treatment as a general solution for varicose veins, we understand that no two cases of vein disease are the same. Dr. Shah goes the extra mile to also identify the underlying causes of your vein issues and utilize the latest treatment options to reduce health risks associated with your vein problem, making it less likely to appear again in future.

The Center for Vein Wellness is dedicated to creating a personalized treatment plan for every patient who visits our practice. When you consult with Dr. Shah in any of our locations, you can be assured of receiving the most effective treatment and recommendations based on your specific case, helping you reach the best possible outcome.

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