(10/10/13) - Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic problem, they can be a
serious health issue. There are a lot of myths about how varicose veins happen,
but treatments for the painful, and not so pretty problem are getting better all
They are big, bulging, and unsightly, and for Christy Arntz, varicose veins were also painful. "Well, they itch. They hurt. Your feet and ankles swell."
About half of people over 50 will develop varicose veins, but how much do you know about this common problem?
True or false: only women get varicose veins.
False. About 43 percent of men develop venous disease by the time they reach their 60s.
Another myth: you can always see varicose veins.
"You can have this backward flow in the leg, creating enlarged superficial veins that stay under the skin enough so that it doesn't bulge," says interventional cardiologist, Dr. Joel Erickson.
True or false: varicose veins are hereditary.
True. In fact, family history is the biggest risk factor.
True or false: prolonged standing causes varicose veins.
True. However, crossing your legs does not cause the bulging veins.
True or false: compression stockings can help the problem.
False. The stockings just relieve symptoms.
But, Dr. Erickson is excited about a newer procedure. Using an ultrasound to guide him, Erikson inserts a catheter and delivers heat to destroy faulty veins. Then, he injects a foam to close the vein, followed by another liquid to help compress it.
The great news is that insurance may cover the procedure.
Christy says her insurance did, and now she is enjoying pain free legs, "I said, 'well, let's get it done.'"
Dr. Erickson says that every insurance company has guidelines about coverage of vein disease. If a patient has bulging varicose veins, rather than simple spider veins, along with pain, aching, or leg fatigue, there is a good chance insurance will cover the procedure.
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