There’s more to spider veins and varicose veins than meets the eye, especially if your lower legs swell after a long day on your feet. And while elevating your legs or a good night sleep may reduce the swelling, it doesn’t address the cause.

“There’s a misconception that varicose veins and spider veins are cosmetic,” says Saina Attaran, MD, Vein Specialist, the Vein Center at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “In reality, varicose veins and spider veins – combined with swelling in the lower extremities – are an indication of venous disease.”

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the most common form of venous disease. Approximately one in three adults suffer from varicose veins. Each year, one in 50 adults with varicose veins go on to develop CVI.

In some cases, CVI can lead to a blood clot in the veins of the legs. Deep vein thrombosis, as it’s called, can increase your risk for stroke and other dangerous conditions.

Do you have these symptoms?
What are the signs of CVI? Your legs may be:

  • Achy or painful
  • Heavy, tired or fatigued
  • Swollen, cramped or restless
  • Itchy, burning or throbbing

Customized care plans
At YRMC’s Vein Center, Dr. Attaran, a cardiothoracic surgeon, creates customized treatment plans for patients.

“Our team works in partnership with patients,” she says. “We encourage them to embrace healthy behaviors for their leg health and overall health, too. Depending on the person, that may mean supporting them as they work toward their ideal body weight, advising them on strategies to quit smoking or giving them information about the benefits of exercise.”

Vein Center treatment plans also include wearing compression socks. Additionally, patients learn to not sit or stand in one position for long stretches. If swelling does occur, what’s Dr. Attaran’s prescription?

“You need to elevate your feet above the thigh when sitting and above the heart when lying down,” she explains.

Advanced therapies
Conservative treatment is not always enough. For those people, Dr. Attaran performs minimally invasive treatments at the Vein Center to ease pain, swelling and irritation. Some of those advanced procedures include:

  • Endovenous ablation – Uses ultrasound guidance technology to close varicose veins for immediate relief of CVI symptoms.
  • Phlebectomy – Removes varicose veins that are just below the surface of the leg.
  • Sclerotherapy – Involves injecting a solution into the damaged veins in order to reroute the blood to healthy veins.
  • Varithena® – Treats varicose veins and venous disease using a revolutionary microfoam procedure.
  • VenaSeal™ – Utilizes an innovative medical adhesive to close diseased veins during minimally invasive varicose vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy and phlebectomy.

Follow-up is another important aspect of vein disease treatment. This is particularly true for people with advanced CVI who develop stasis dermatitis – eczema due to poor blood flow – and ulcers. YRMC’s Vein Center works with Advanced Wound Care at Dignity Health, YRMC to help people with this condition.

To learn more about YRMC’s Vein Center visit DignityHealth.org/YRMC or call the Vein Center at (928) 759-5890.