Jan thought her spider veins were mostly a cosmetic problem. But then she noticed her ankles would swell after putting in double shifts at the restaurant she manages.
“By the end of the second shift, my ankles would be twice their normal size,” she said. “But after a good night’s sleep, the swelling would be gone.”
Jan’s symptoms led to a diagnosis of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that’s more than just cosmetic. Chronic venous insufficiency may be secondary to a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs. Deep vein thrombosis, as it’s called, strikes about one in 20 people. It can increase your risk for stroke and other dangerous conditions.
“Vein disease is as common as heart failure and more common than diabetes,” said Anil Kumar, MD, FAAC, RPVI, Medical Director of the Vein Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “Vein disease is not unusual, but it is often ignored.”
The newly opened Vein Center at YRMC is dedicated to helping people with vein disorders. The Center’s Medical Director, Dr. Kumar – Board Certified in Vascular Medicine and a member of the American College of Phlebology – is dedicated to ensuring people understand that spider veins and varicose veins may be related to health problems that are more than superficial.
How can you tell if your spider veins or varicose veins may be due to chronic venous insufficiency? Look for these common symptoms:
- Aching or painful legs
- Heavy, tired or fatigued legs
- Swelling, cramping or restless legs
- Itching, burning or throbbing legs
- Skin changes, stasis dermatitis or ulcers
Treatment of chronic venous insufficiency treatment is not one size fits all. Using his clinical knowledge, diagnostic skills and vascular medicine background, Dr. Kumar develops individualized treatment plans for patients at YRMC’s Vein Center.
“We always emphasize lifestyle changes,” Dr. Kumar said. “The most important change anyone can make is to maintain an ideal body weight.”
In addition to weight management, Dr. Kumar also recommends patients:
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet
- Not smoke
- Avoid sitting or standing in one position for long stretches
- Elevate their feet above the thigh when sitting and above the heart when lying down
Dr. Kumar’s treatment plans usually include wearing compression socks, especially during air travel.
People who need additional treatment often undergo thermal ablation. During this procedure, Dr. Kumar uses ultrasound imaging to guide a thin, hollow tube, into the veins. Once there, Dr. Kumar applies heat to treat damaged veins.
“We all have two sets of veins: deep and superficial,” Dr. Kumar said. “The deep veins take 95 percent of the blood back to the heart. So, even if the superficial veins are removed during thermal ablation, or another procedure, the deep veins are functioning and doing their work.”
Follow-up is another important aspect of vein disease treatment. This is particularly true for patients who develop leg ulcers due to vein disease. YRMC’s Vein Center partners closely with Advanced Wound Care at YRMC to help people with this condition.
The Vein Center at YRMC is located at the Del E. Webb Outpatient Building, 3262 North Windsong Drive in Prescott Valley. For more information, talk to your primary care physician or call (928) 759-5890.