Varicose veins frequently asked questions
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They can be seen and felt right under the surface of the skin. Varicose veins usually occur in the legs and feet. They can cause a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, swelling or skin discoloration in affected areas.
Varicose veins are a fairly common condition in the U.S., affecting around 23 percent of all Americans, according to WebMD. For many the condition is a family trait. If other family members have varicose veins there is a greater chance you will, too. Women are twice as likely as men to get varicose veins.
How to relieve pain caused by varicose veins
Varicose veins can cause throbbing, swelling, a burning sensation in your extremities, and pain. If you are experiencing pain caused by varicose veins, there are some at-home remedies to start with: drink water, elevate your legs, stretch, put ice on legs or soak legs in cold water. You may be able to prevent varicose veins by wearing lower-heeled shoes, wearing loose / non-restrictive clothing, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly to encourage blood flow.
These measures may help on a temporary basis. If your pain persists, you may have chronic venous insufficiency.
NCMA Vein Center offers a number of minimally invasive procedures to treat varicose vein symptoms. Vascular surgeon and vein specialist Vishal Patel, MD, can help you better understand your condition and will discuss what options are available to improve varicose veins.
How do you stop varicose veins from getting worse?
Self-care — such as exercising, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Maintaining an active lifestyle is your best prevention for stopping varicose veins from worsening. Make a habit of staying active if seated for long periods of time. If these motions do not cause pain, make a point to keep your lower body moving by stretching/rotating your ankles, peddling your feet or bending your knees. Compression hosiery (socks) can also reduce the discomfort and unsightliness of varicose veins.
For pregnant women, your sleeping position may matter. Try sleeping on your left side. This sleeping position helps reduce the pressure that your expanding uterus puts on the big vein in your pelvic area, which is located on the middle-right side of your body.
What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?
If left untreated, varicose veins typically result in excess blood leaking into the tissues of the leg. Patients can experience painful swelling and inflammation as parts of their skin become dark and discolored. This condition is known as hyperpigmentation.
Is varicose vein removal covered by insurance?
Varicose veins can cause pain, swelling, and can limit one’s comfortable mobility. The occurrence of varicose veins is often a sign of a vein disease. This condition should be taken seriously and treated if possible.
Every patient and diagnosis is different. Similarly, insurance coverage varies greatly by policy and company. Generally, most patients seeking treatment for removing varicose veins will find that the procedure is covered by their insurance plan. Depending on a specific diagnosis, varicose vein removal is sometimes classified as a cosmetic procedure as opposed to a medical one. However, if your specific diagnosis is deemed a necessary medical procedure by your doctor, then most insurance companies will cover some treatments. NCMA Vein Center providers and staff will be happy to clarify your diagnosis and will help you understand any relevant insurance coverage.
- Vishal Patel, MD, Director