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What Happens If You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

For most people, varicose veins are a cosmetic concern that causes embarrassment and prevents you from wearing the attire and footwear that you want. In some cases, people with untreated varicose veins may also experience some discomfort and other symptoms such as pain, restless legs, swelling, and heaviness in the legs.

What Happens If You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated | Vein Specialist

It is recommended that you visit a vein specialist as early as possible before the symptoms of varicose veins get worse. If left untreated, patients often report more severe symptoms that may require emergency treatment, such as:

  • Bleeding – When the skin around the affected veins becomes damaged to the extent of exposing the varicose vein, a small puncture could result in spontaneous bleeding. This blood loss is usually painless.
  • Hyperpigmentation – Refers to darkening of the skin around the area with varicose veins. As pressure increases in the bulging veins, some of the oxygen-depleted blood may begin to leak from affected veins and flow into the surrounding tissues, resulting in inflammation, swelling, and discolored skin pigmentation. Commonly occurs in the lower leg area.
  • Venous leg ulcers – These also occur when the affected veins burst due to increased pressure, allowing blood to flow into the surrounding tissues. When the red blood cells interact directly with the tissues, they may cause the skin to break down and form painful ulcers. These ulcers typically won’t heal until you treat the varicose veins.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis – This is a result of venous insufficiency where the skin around the problematic veins hardens and becomes discolored. Some pain and swelling is also very common. This usually occurs around the ankles.
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis – clotting or damage of the veins located just below the surface of the skin can cause decreased blood flow, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain around that area.
  • Deep vein thrombosis – This occurs when blood clots in the deep veins of the leg. It increases the risk of pulmonary embolism, where the blood clots break off and get carried to the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath and even death

Untreated varicose veins can cause serious medical complications that include ulcerations (large sores), bleeding, and thrombophlebitis (blood clots), due to the increased pressure and blood pooling in the veins.

Please visit a vein specialist as early as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

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What to Expect from a Vein Procedure

There are several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein problems, all of which are considered safe, effective, and highly successful with minimal side effects. The typically vein procedure is performed with local anesthetic only and takes less than an hour, so you can drive yourself to and from the appointment.

What to Expect from a Vein Procedure | Vein Treatment Recovery

After your vein procedure, you will have to wear a bandage at least overnight, but you can remove it the following day before resuming normal activities. Most patients report some discomfort for the first 48 hours after treatment, so it’s recommended that you rest during this period.

Expected side Effects

Following the procedure, you will experience some discomfort accompanied by redness, warmth, and inflammation on and around the treated areas. Some patients also report a feeling of tightness along the collapsed or treated vein. Your physician will give you a pain prescription, like 400 mg of ibuprofen that you take every 6-8 hours, or 500 mg of Tylenol that you take every 12 hours.

During the first week after the procedure, you may feel like veins in the treated area are knotting, with blood pooling in the veins and causing the skin to feel warm and tender to the touch. This is normal as blood is redirected to other healthy veins, but you can relieve the discomfort by applying a warm compress and massaging the spot regularly.

It is important that you avoid soaking your body in water, like in a bathtub, or even pool, for the first 10 days after the procedure to reduce the risk of infections in the treated area.

You may also experience some occasional loss of sensation due to nerve irritation during the treatment. This should disappear with time.

7-10 Days Later

Most people should be able to resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure. But if you do a lot of strenuous things, it is best that you wait 7-10 days before engaging in such activities or lifting anything weighing more than 20 pounds.

That said, it is recommended that you engage in low-impact fitness activities, such as walking or using a low setting on the treadmill to facilitate the healing process. But you should avoid all high-impact exercises such as jogging, running, or lower-body weight training.

Months later

People recover differently from varicose vein treatment. Most experience considerable reduction of symptoms after one month, but they may go on for a few more months. You will likely feel fine after 6 months, but considering that venous insufficiency is a chronic condition, you should visit your physician for a follow-up assessment.

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Is Your Diet Causing Varicose Veins?

It is common knowledge that your dietary choices affect many aspects of your health and general wellbeing. New studies suggest that what you eat also affects the severity of varicose veins symptoms by aggravating the risk factors, interfering with proper blood circulation, or directly impeding blood flow in the veins.

Is Your Diet Causing Varicose Veins? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

The items you eat can either make existing vein problems worse or improve your vascular function and ultimately reduce the severity of varicose veins.

Foods that make varicose veins worse

Considering that being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, any foods that cause you to add weight also increase your risk of venous problems. These include:

  • Refined starches
  • Soda and alcohol
  • Dairy products including whole milk
  • High-sugar foods
  • Oily foods

You can avoid weight gain by consuming nutritious foods and counting your daily calorie intake. You should also be careful about consuming foods that increase water retention, because it increases pressure on the veins. This can cause the veins to swell and the valves to get damaged, allowing blood to pool and form varicose veins.

Some of the foods that increase water retention and should be avoided include:

  • Processed meats
  • Canned foods
  • Many types of cheeses
  • Pizza
  • Pickles
  • Other salty foods

In addition, you should avoid foods that increase the risk of constipation, as it makes you more likely to getting hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the anal canal. This can also cause damage to veins in your lower legs, resulting in the formation of varicose veins. Consider reducing your intake of red meat, chocolate, dairy products, bananas, and refined starches, while increasing your intake of foods rich in fiber, such as legumes, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and drinking lots of water.

Foods that provide relief for varicose veins

Besides avoiding the foods mentioned above, consider increasing your dietary intake of leafy green vegetables; fruits and vegetables rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins C and E; and natural diuretics that help to flush away water, like cucumbers, asparagus, celery, and herbs.

Although maintaining the right diet can reduce the risk for venous problems, varicose veins are largely hereditary, so you cannot prevent them completely. If your varicose veins are painful or a cosmetic concern, please visit a nearby vein specialist for diagnosis and discussion of minimally invasive treatments that can help your case.

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How Serious is Vein Disease?

Vein disease occur when some of the veins in your legs malfunction and are unable to transport blood from the legs properly. When this happens, blood in the affected blood vessels may begin to pool, resulting in the formation of varicose, reticular, or spider veins. These vein problems are not very serious, but if left untreated, can cause pain, leg fatigue, cramping, skin discoloration, and restlessness.

How Serious Is Vein Disease? | Vein Specialist in Ventura and Los Angeles

In severe cases, untreated venous conditions can lead to very serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, bleeding, and ulcers.

To manage the symptoms of venous disorders, and to keep them from escalating into serious complications, it is important that you visit a vein specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Some of the risk factors of venous disorders include:

  • Family history of varicose veins
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Old age
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Resistance training

Through a combination of lifestyle changes, at-home care, and minimally invasive in-office treatment, you can treat venous diseases and prevent other venous problems from arising. In-office treatments include laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, and sclerotherapy, all of which should only be performed by a skilled physician to avoid complications.

These procedures target and destroy the problematic veins, forcing blood to flow through healthy veins. After treatment, it may be necessary to wear compression stockings to help boost blood flow in your legs and to reduce pain. Increasing your level of activity and shedding weight is also helpful.

How soon can you enjoy the results of the procedure?

The results of most minimally invasive treatments are not instant. It will take a while for inflammation to subside, and the final results of sclerotherapy, ablation, or other treatment won’t be apparent until 2-3 months post-treatment. The marks from the injections should resolve in about 6-8 weeks, but the actual time depends on:

  • Your skin type
  • The types of blood vessels treated
  • The strength of the solution used
  • Your genetic disposition to develop hyper pigmentation

During this time, it is important that you follow Dr. Shah’s aftercare instructions strictly to avoid complications. For instance, any bruising occurring after sclerotherapy may take about 5 weeks to resolve, while staining may take up to 12 months to resolve.

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Sclerotherapy Recovery Time & Aftercare

Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for spider veins. The procedure takes place in-office, and you can walk out right after the treatment and resume your normal activities immediately. But if your job involves prolonged standing or driving, or if both your legs were treated at the same, you may need a few days off.

Sclerotherapy Recovery Time & Aftercare | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

Here’s what to Expect:

On the day of the procedure

After your sclerotherapy treatment with Dr. Shah, you can expect the following:

  • The treated leg will be bandaged from the foot to the top of the treated vein
  • Your blood pressure and bandages will be checked
  • You will be given custom compression stockings
  • You will receive a prescription for any pain relievers that you need
  • You will be given a discharge letter

The treatment is not painful, and you should be able to walk out of the center about 30-minutes after the procedure. However, it is best that you get someone else to drive you home or to work for the next 48 hours.

The Following Day

On the following day of your treatment, the local anaesthetic will have worn off, so the bandaged leg will feel a little uncomfortable. It will also be slightly swollen. Just take your painkillers prescription as directed for the first few days.

The Second Day

You should remove the bandage after 24 hours and gauze and wear the compression stockings during the day for the next two weeks. Remove the stockings when taking a bath and going to bed.

Other precautions

  • Although the stockings may feel tight and uncomfortable, it is important that you wear them correctly to optimize the results of the procedure.
  • Try to walk as normally as possible to keep blood flowing properly
  • Avoid strenuous work or exercise for the first few days, and gradually build up the amount you need to do
  • Avoid driving for at least 48 hours
  • Avoid flying long haul (more than 4 hours flights) for at least 4 weeks after the procedure as it increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis

When to contact us

If you have any concerns about sclerotherapy or treating your varicose veins, please contact the Center for Vein Wellness.

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What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis also referred to as DVT is a venous complication that involves a blood clot (thrombus) forming in a deep vein in your body. DVT typically affects a deep vein in a leg running through the thigh and calf muscles of one of your legs.

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles

DVT is a complicated vein problem that may develop due to a number of factors such as medical conditions affecting how your blood clots; or prolonged immobility, like when confined to bed following an accident or surgery.

Symptoms of DVT

If you have deep vein thrombosis, you may not necessarily experience any pain or discomfort. However, most people report feeling:

  • A strong ache around the affected spot
  • Warm sensation in area around the clot
  • Swelling, pain, and tenderness around the calf
  • Red skin below your knee
  • Intense pain when bending the foot upwards towards the knee

If left untouched, DVT can lead to even more serious complications such as pulmonary embolism, which is a result of a piece of the blood clot in the leg vein breaking off and traveling in the bloodstream and lodging in the blood vessels in the lungs.

If pulmonary embolism develops, you may experience other symptoms like:

  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Chest pain or discomfort that intensifies when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Rapid pulse

Pulmonary embolism affects about 10 percent of the people who delay treatment for deep vein thrombosis. So it is important that you visit a vein specialist at the Center for Vein Wellness as soon as you notice signs of DVT.

Treatment for deep vein thrombosis

If you suspect that your symptoms are due to deep vein thrombosis, Dr. Shah will perform a few tests to ascertain that. A D-dimer specialized blood test may be necessary to check for the presence of broken blood clots in your bloodstream. If you have recently had a surgical procedure, injury, or pregnancy, other tests may be necessary, like a Doppler ultrasound or a venogram.

If detected, you will have to take anticoagulant medicine to prevent your blood from clotting and making any existing clots bigger. Dr. Shah will also help you devise a strategy to prevent DVT from occurring again.

To learn more about deep vein thrombosis, please visit the Center for Vein Wellness.

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How Do Varicose Veins Affect Men?

Although varicose veins are mostly reported by middle-aged women, studies show that they also affect between 17 and 45 percent of men. These veins are cosmetically unattractive, and appear as ropy, blue or purple blood vessels bulging out of the skin. Perhaps because women are more concerned about their appearance than men, and the fact that their clothes are more revealing, they are more likely to seek treatment for varicose veins from a vein specialist.

How Do Varicose Veins Affect Men? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

Men, on the other hand, are less aware of the appearance of varicose veins. This is especially true for men who workout a lot, as bulging veins are a sign of masculinity and a good fitness session. Even when the veins cause pain and discomfort, one can easily dismiss the symptoms as muscle fatigue after exercises.

However, the bulging, ropy veins may be varicose veins that can develop into serious vein complications if left untreated.

Reasons to treat varicose veins

Failure to treat varicose veins can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Ulcers – Ulcers can form from scrapes or cuts that don’t heal properly. They are very painful, and often form around the varicose veins on your ankles. One of the early signs of ulcers is skin discoloration around the varicose veins.
  • Blood clots – These often lead to swelling in the legs, which in turn results in leg heaviness, fatigue, and restlessness.
  • Bleeding – The bulging veins are more vulnerable to breakage as they’re very close to the surface of the skin.
  • Infections – The bleeding opens up your skin to infections

Get your varicose veins treated today

It is important that you get your varicose veins assessed and treated as soon as you notice them. If you’re not ready for treatment, Dr. Shah of the Center for Vein Wellness may recommend a few lifestyle changes and activities to improve blood flow and thereby reduce their visibility.

Some common treatments include changing your fitness routine, losing weight, stretching often if you sit or stand for extended periods, keeping the legs elevated when resting, and wearing compression sleeves. If the veins are causing complications, Dr. Shah may recommend a minimally invasive treatment like sclerotherapy or ablation.

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Do You Need to Remove Varicose Veins?

Although varicose veins are hereditary, they can also be caused by other factors that strain the veins in your legs, like pregnancy, surgery, trauma, obesity, and prolonged standing or sitting. These veins do not necessarily cause pain, which may prompt some people – especially men – to ignore them if they can conceal them with clothing.

Do You Need to Remove Varicose Veins? | Varicose Vein Treatment

If left untreated, varicose veins cause a myriad of symptoms like pain, leg heaviness, fatigue, and general discomfort. In severe cases, they can lead to more complicated conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), ulcers, and skin discoloration, among others. So how should you deal with varicose veins?

Removal is not the only treatment for varicose veins

As soon as you realize that you have varicose veins, it is important that you contact the Center for Vein Wellness to schedule a consultation with a vein specialist. Dr. Shah will assess your condition and identify the root cause of the varicose veins. If caused by lifestyle factors, the doctor may first recommend a few months of self care at home.

Self care involves:

  • Regular exercise
  • Taking regular breaks to stretch your legs if you stand or sit for long periods
  • Elevating the affected area whenever you’re resting
  • Using custom compression stockings

Further Treatment through vein removal

If your varicose veins are causing symptoms or complications, Dr. Shah may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to get rid of the troublesome blood vessels.

You will discuss the best treatment for your case depending on the size of the varicose veins, their position, severity of the complication, and your general health. The procedures include radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation, and sclerotherapy.

Varicose Veins Treatment for Pregnant Patients

Expectant mothers often get varicose veins due to the increased strain in the blood vessels around the pelvis and abdomen. If they were there before, they may become more noticeable during the pregnancy period because of the strain and increase in progesterone hormone production. If your varicose veins are causing problems, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Shah to discuss the best treatments that pose the lowest risk to your pregnancy.

No one should have to live with unsightly varicose veins or other venous problems until they cause painful symptoms and complications. The Center for Vein Wellness offers many options for their treatment. Please visit us to discuss your case.

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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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