Varicose Veins in Men—What You Should Know

Varicose Veins in Men—What You Should Know

Don’t think that varicose veins are just a woman’s problem. They’re a guy thing too.  When it comes to varicose veins in men—here’s what you should know.

Varicose veins are those unattractive, sometimes painful, bulging veins usually found on legs.

It’s true—varicose veins are often harmless. But sometimes they warn of an underlying health issue.

 

You’re Not Alone

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Journal (AHA/ASA) 11 million men aged 40-80 have varicose veins.

Many men go on to develop symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, including venous ulceration.

So don’t be in denial! Sometimes it’s just plain foolish to ignore them.

 

Doctors Warn Against Ignoring Varicose Veins

If you’re a man, and you have varicose veins … don’t ignore them!

Dr. Stuart Miller of The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center warns, “Most men won’t come in until there is ulceration or bleeding … or their wife makes them come in. Waiting is not the answer!”

 

Medical Problems Associated with Varicose Veins

Ignoring varicose veins may lead to these advanced varicose vein problems:

 

Veins Have an Important Job

Veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart. An artery then takes the blood to the lungs. Once in the lungs, the blood receives new oxygen.

Problems arise when the valves in the veins weaken or fail, and veins can’t do their job. This is called venous insufficiency–a serious medical problem.

Veins can only perform properly if they’re healthy. A vein doctor should check varicose veins to make sure they are working well.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins in Men

Varicose vein symptoms include:

  • Veins that are twisted or bulging
  • Achy or heavy feeling in the legs
  • Burning, throbbing, cramping, and swelling in the lower leg
  • Increased pain after sitting or standing for long periods
  • Itching near one or more veins
  • Skin discoloration

Should you call a doctor if you have leg pain? Probably.

 

Causes of Varicose Veins in Men

The major causes of varicose veins in men include:

  • Heredity
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • Age
  • Obesity

 

How to Prevent Varicose Veins—Tips for Men

Now that you know the risks, it’s easy to understand why being proactive about vein care is so important.

If you know that venous insufficiency runs in your family, taking preventive steps now is even more important.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for vein health.

 Walking-for-Exercise

 

Exercise Prevents Varicose Veins

Genetics can be an indicator of varicose veins. And you can’t change that.

But you can take action to fight other associated causes of varicose veins, including being overweight or inactive.

Preventing varicose veins with exercise is a great start.

As men age, they produce less testosterone and HGH with each passing year. This slows the metabolism and causes weight gain.

Exercise helps ease this natural progression of weight gain in men. So, in case you needed more motivation to exercise, consider that fewer pounds mean less stress on veins and thus less tendency for vein problems.

Working out will also build healthy leg muscles. Calf muscles are especially important to vein heath because they help pump blood back to your heart more efficiently.

If you’re just starting an exercise regimen, choose an activity you might enjoy. But don’t over-do it. Walking, swimming, yoga, and other low-impact activities are all great to move your body.

High-impact sports, torn ACLs, or a popped hamstring won’t do much for leg and venous health.

Remember, sitting or standing in one position all day is your enemy. But that doesn’t mean you have to train for the Olympics.

Studies have shown that any amount of regular movement is helpful.

Anything from a brisk daily walk to just stepping away from your desk every so often is far better than nothing. Every little bit counts and will make a measurable difference.

 

Good Diet and Nutrition Fights Varicose Veins in Men

A healthy diet helps keep your weight down, powers your workout, and improves your mood.

Here are some great tips for top foods that improve circulation and vein health.

Beyond that, dietary recommendations specific to venous health include:

  • Adding fiber to prevent absorption of unhealthy fats and cholesterol buildup
  • Boosting levels of vitamin C to aid the production of collagen and elastin, infrastructural tissues that literally support veins
  • Staying hydrated to help fiber flush your system and maintain electrolyte balance
  • Eating more rutin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in apple peels, asparagus, green tea, figs, cranberries, and citrus zest that reduces inflammation
  • Consuming less salt, thus decreasing water retention and vein pressure

 

Choosing-Healthy-Foods at Grocery Store

 

Men Can Get Relief from Varicose Veins

Wearing compression socks and keeping legs elevated can help support veins and reduce pressure. And this reduced pressure can aid in the prevention of varicose veins, as does proper diet and exercise.

Putting-on-Compression-Sock

Sometimes varicose vein treatment is necessary to restore healthy blood flow to your legs. The presence of bulging and discolored veins or pain could mean clinical treatment is in order.

There are several safe, minimally invasive procedures that are performed in our office in less than an hour. Health insurance or Medicare covers many of these procedures.

 

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)

EVLT, also known as endovenous laser vein therapy, only requires local anesthesia. It is a safe, virtually painless procedure that eliminates damaged varicose veins.

Ultrasound guidance is used to insert a thin heat-producing laser fiber into the vein. The procedure results in the vein closing. Your body then reroutes blood flow to a nearby healthy vein.

This procedure relieves pain caused by the varicose vein. There is little or no scarring. There is minimal recovery time.

 

Varithena

Varithena is an FDA approved injectable foam therapy. This non-surgical procedure uses a sclerosing agent that causes the vein to collapse and close. Blood is displaced into a healthy vein.

 

ClariVein

ClariVein is a non-thermal treatment that closes a targeted vein. This easily tolerated procedure is highly effective.

Contact The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center to arrange an appointment and discover the pain-free lifestyle, confidence, and improved appearance that comes with circulatory health.

Can Spider Veins Come Back After Treatment?

Can Spider Veins Come Back After Treatment?

You’ve seen them before. And now you’re seeing them again! Those pesky, unattractive spider veins.

Perhaps you originally had them around your ankles or on your thighs and you sought treatment.

Now they seem to have reappeared, and you’re asking, can spider veins come back after treatment?

 

About Spider Veins

Spider veins are those thin red or blue veins on your skin’s surface.

You will commonly find spider veins on thighs and calves. They also appear on the face and breasts.

Spider veins can be itchy and annoying, or cause legs to feel slightly tired. But they are rarely painful and are almost always harmless.

Today, doctors consider sclerotherapy the best treatment for the removal of spider veins. But this isn’t always the medical procedure performed.

A close-up of spider veins on the skin

 

Reasons Spider Veins Return

There are several reasons spider veins return, or at least seem to return.

But what happens most often is that new spider veins develop in the same area after treatment.

So, it’s not that the spider veins that were treated are returning. Rather, new spider veins show up and are mistaken for the original veins.

Reasons spider veins return in the same area include:

  • A person has venous insufficiency, so deeper, untreated veins are causing the development of new spider veins
  • A person’s body doesn’t properly regulate new vein formation
  • The person continues with activities that cause spider veins, such as long periods of sitting or standing, or staying obese
  • Saline or skin laser was improperly used to treat them
  • Genetics

Graphic showing legs in various stages of venous disease 

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is a progressive vein disease. A vein specialist can treat it, but venous insufficiency will not go away on its own.

If a person has venous insufficiency, the underlying varicose veins combined with an increase in venous pressure encourage the development of new spider veins.

So new spider veins form.

It seems like the old ones are returning, but they’re not.

Doctors can diagnose venous insufficiency with a simple, painless ultrasound of your legs. This will show whether your vein valves are working correctly, and whether you have this condition.

Spider vein treatment should be delayed until this test is performed. If the cause of the spider veins is indeed venous insufficiency, the underlying veins need to be treated first.

If the underlying problem remains untreated, the spider veins are sure to return.

And venous insufficiency needs to be treated for health reasons.

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLT) or Varithena, a micro-foam sclerosant, are favored ways to treat venous insufficiency.

The spider vein won’t be under pressure once the varicose vein receives treatment. At that time, sclerotherapy can treat the spider veins successfully.

If spider veins recur after sclerotherapy, they usually come back in a much less severe form. This happens quite some time after the sclerotherapy procedure.

 

Genetics and Hormones

If your genetic makeup is encouraging the development of spider veins, trying to get rid of them is an uphill battle.

How do you know your spider veins are caused by genetics?

The easiest way to find out is to ask immediate family members if they’re developing spider veins, too. If they are, you have your answer!

If they aren’t, your spider veins may still be genetic. But the good news is that spider veins caused by genetics are no reason for any health concerns.

Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause can also encourage the development of spider veins.

 

 Laser Therapy

Some doctors use laser therapy as a treatment for spider veins.

Many patients find this procedure to be painful since heat is applied directly to the skin. It also takes a longer time to treat a small area.

Lasers can also cause hypopigmentation­—­a loss of melanin in the skin.

But most discouraging is that if the laser doesn’t produce enough heat to seal the vein, the procedure will fail. For this reason, you will need additional treatments.

 

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is the state-of-the-art treatment for spider veins.

It is considerably more effective and faster than laser treatment. And you don’t feel pain.

During sclerotherapy, the doctor injects a solution or sclerosing agent into the vein.

This causes the vein to scar and collapse. Eventually, you can no longer see the vein since it is resorbed by the body.

Sodium chloride is no longer considered an acceptable sclerosing agent. It can be  painful for the patient and can cause serious complications.

Eighty percent of spider veins treated by visual sclerotherapy usually disappear in three to six weeks. So even one treatment of sclerotherapy will create noticeable results.

Patients may need new treatments every few years if new spider veins appear.

A smiling middle-aged woman walking in the park

 

How Can You Keep Spider Veins from Recurring?

Are there things you can do after treatment to keep more spider veins from developing?

The answer is yes.

They include:

  • Exercising your legs regularly
  • Staying at or getting to a healthy weight
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Wearing compression stockings or socks

If you want to learn more about spider veins, read:

If you are seeking effective, safe, and comfortable treatment for your spider veins, contact us at NJVVC.

Leg Exfoliation – Pros & Cons

Leg Exfoliation – Pros & Cons

Are you thinking about adding leg exfoliation to your beauty routine? If so, you’re on the right track. Leg exfoliation is an easy way to get softer, smoother, more attractive legs. But there are important things to know. Before you chose your exfoliation method, read our leg exfoliation pros and cons.

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the removal of the top layer of dead skin cells.

Our skin creates fresh skin cells monthly. But sometimes old skin cells remain, giving the skin a flaky, rough appearance. Exfoliation gently removes these dead cells. It also inspires new skin cell growth.

A woman sitting and admiring her smooth legs

 

The Benefits of Exfoliation for Your Legs

Some benefits of exfoliation are legs that:

  • Look softer, smoother, and more polished
  • Look brighter
  • Look younger
  • Have improved circulation by bringing blood to the skin’s surface
  • Can have a reduction in the appearance of cellulite
  • Have increased collagen production over time
  • Will better absorb skin moisturizers
  • Develop fewer shaving-related ingrown hairs

Moisturizing Your Legs Isn’t Enough

Putting moisturizer or oils over dry, flaky skin won’t help much. That’s because these products can’t penetrate dry and scaly skin cells. Most of the moisturizer simply sits on top of the dry skin. This helps nothing. And you’re throwing money away.

But exfoliate your legs and watch them drink in the moisture.

Exfoliate Safely

Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing. Even drinking too much water each day can have a negative effect on your body. You don’t want to exfoliate every day. Your skin needs time to recover. Exfoliate at healthy intervals.

Your exfoliation products should work for your skin type. Is your skin dry, normal, or oily?

Then, be sure to apply moisturizer after exfoliation to avoid dryness or irritation. The best time to moisturize is just out of the shower when the skin is slightly damp.

Know Your Skin Type

If you exfoliate too harshly, or too often, for your skin type, your skin can become reddened or even damaged.

If your skin is sensitive, it may sting or burn after exfoliation. This is your skin’s way of telling you to be gentler.

If your skin is dry and flaky, you may be tempted to over exfoliate and irritate deeper layers of skin. When you exfoliate manually, use a gentle massaging touch—never scrub.

If your body is well hydrated, it will respond to exfoliation better.

A woman using an exfoliation brush to remove dead skin cells

 

Remember These Exfoliation Tips

  • Never exfoliate right after shaving
  • Don’t exfoliate over a sunburn
  • Don’t exfoliate over an open cut or broken skin
  • Do give special attention to knees and ankles
  • Massage legs at the same time to improve circulation

Also, never exfoliate if you easily get dark spots on your skin from bug bites.

There are Two Types of Exfoliation

When you exfoliate your legs, you can use either a physical exfoliation method or chemical exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliation uses gentle acids or enzymes to dissolve the dead skin.

Know the pros and cons of each method to find which one works best for your skin.

Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation uses a tool to remove dead skin cells. You can also use a mineral salt scrub.

Pros

  • Works well for normal, thicker, more resilient skin

Cons

  • Is rougher than chemical exfoliation because it involves gentle scrubbing

Four Tools Used for Physical Exfoliation

1. Loofahs

A natural loofah is a dried tropical gourd.

Pros

  • Gently and effectively exfoliates dead skin
  • Doesn’t irritate healthy skin
  • Can buy in bulk and change frequently for safety

Cons

  • Is a breeding ground for bacteria
  • Can trap bacteria in pores during exfoliation
  • Can be the source of infections
  • Holds dead skin cells and old dirt and grime

 

Loofah sponges, used for physical exfoliation, arranged in a wicker basket

 

2. Dry Brush Exfoliation

Includes use of a shower brush or natural bath bristle. Use it on dry skin. Brush skin upward toward the heart.

Pros

  • Excellent for normal, non-sensitive, skin
  • Provides a more rigorous exfoliation, if needed
  • Can easily control exfoliation pressure
  • Will increase circulation

Cons

  • Even light pressure may be too harsh for sensitive skin
  • Can cause irritation or bleeding if overused in certain area

 

3. Exfoliating Gloves

Pros

  • Gentle on the skin with no redness or irritation

Cons

  • If they develop an odor, you need a new pair
  • Must wash out and let dry completely after each use

 

4. Mineral Salt Scrubs

First, rinse skin in warm water. Then apply scrub to legs by hand with a circular motion. Rinse off in a cool shower.

Pros

  • Can use up to two times a week
  • Exfoliates and cleanses
  • Helps with skin circulation and detoxification
  • Softens skin and improves hydration

Cons

  • Can be irritating if done more than 2-3 times/week
  • Does not moisturize the skin

Chart showing the chemical makeup of AHA acids

 

Chemical Exfoliation

You can buy chemical exfoliants which are made of mild acids.

Different chemical exfoliants include:

  • AHA acids like glycolic or lactic acids, derived from fruit, sugar or milk, are good for dry or sensitive skin; can use them every other week
  • BHA acids, like salicylic acid, are good for oily, acne-prone skin
  • Extremely mild enzyme-based acids are derived from fruits

Pros

  • Gentler than physical exfoliation
  • Good for sensitive or skin
  • Can use with a gentle washcloth
  • Does not involve scrubbing
  • Can moisturize skin and will not over-dry it
  • Can help prevent ingrown hairs

Cons

  • It’s important to follow label directions to avoid irritation or dark spots

Look for Spider Veins on Your Legs

Now that you’re focusing on making your legs more beautiful, take time out to look for spider veins.

Spider veins appear near the surface of the skin. They usually appear as thin red, blue, or purple lines on the ankles, thighs, or calf.

They rarely cause any health problems, but they are unsightly.

You cannot remove spider veins with exfoliation, but they can be removed with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no anesthesia.

And you can usually exfoliate your legs once the injection site has fully healed.

Contact us at NJVVC for more information.

You may also like, “Spider Veins on Ankles and How to Treat Them.”

Get your Legs Ready for Summer!

Get your Legs Ready for Summer!

Summer is the time to relax and have fun. Whether you’re lounging around the pool or shopping in your local farmer’s market, you want to look and feel your best. Before the heat sends us running for shorts, sundresses, and bathing suits, is a great time to get your legs ready for summer.

Here are some ways to get your legs looking their best and feeling great.

A woman with varicose veins wades in the ocean

 

Get Rid of Unsightly Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

While spider veins and varicose veins usually don’t pose a health risk, they are never attractive to look at. And varicose veins can make your legs feel achy, heavy, and tired. They can ruin your lazy strolls through unexplored towns or make you self-conscious about showing off your summer legs.

The good news is that there are treatments available which can eliminate these unsightly and sometimes painful veins. Now is a great time to have a consultation with a vein specialist to see what they can do to eliminate them.

Happily, there are minimally invasive outpatient procedures that can reduce or eliminate both spider and varicose veins.

Procedure and recovery times are short, and the results make you feel and look fabulous!

A woman gets her legs ready for summer by exfoliating them in bath

 

Exfoliate Your Legs

There’s no time like the present to exfoliate the dry skin on your legs. The cold winter temperatures and harsh indoor heating may have left your skin feeling tight, dull, and dry.

An easy way to rejuvenate the look of your legs, and give them a fresh summer glow, is to exfoliate your legs.

Exfoliate once a week if your skin is dry or sensitive, or more frequently, if your skin is oily.

Cleansing scrubs and loofahs work wonders in the bath or shower.

When you exfoliate, you remove dead skin cells and keep them from building up on the skin. This makes room for the fresh new skin cells that appear every 27 days or so.

After removing the dead skin cells from your legs, be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer; exfoliation can sometimes leave your skin feeling drier or sensitive.

Exfoliation not only makes your skin look better but also helps your skin absorb moisturizers. Without removing the dead skin cells, moisturizers only sit on top of the skin and cannot do their important work below the surface.

It’s important to know that exfoliation can make your skin more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays. So be extra sure to use sunscreen on your legs when you go outside.

A woman putting moisturizer on her legs

 

Apply Moisturizer

Moisturizing your legs year-round will keep the skin soft and glowing.

Moisturize every day right after your shower while your skin is still damp. This will keep your skin well hydrated.

But be sure not to over moisturize your legs. It’s possible for your skin to become dependent on the moisturizer and create less moisture on its own.

Stop Taking Long Hot Showers

Long hot showers are extremely relaxing, but they can make your skin feel dry and tight.

Prolonged exposure to hot water will not only remove too much natural oil from your skin, but it can make your legs swell.

When you shower, keep the water temperature a bit lower—especially after a day of summer heat.

And at the very end of your shower, try an invigorating cooler rinse. This will help muscles and increase vein function.

Improve Your Nutrition

With all the fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit available, the summer is a natural time to improve your diet. Your skin and body will benefit from good nutrition.

Foods that will improve your overall skin health include:

  • Antioxidants—found in berries
  • Vitamin E—found in almonds and sunflower seeds
  • Omega-6 fatty acids—found in soybeans and corn
  • Omega-3 fatty acids—found in salmon and mackerel

Eat lean meats and fish to get lots of healthy fats and protein.

Good nutrition also contributes to vein health in your legs and feet.

Vitamin C keeps veins strong and increases your body’s manufacturing of collagen and elastin.

Flavonoids can reduce swelling and aches related to varicose veins. Rutin, a powerful flavonoid, is found in cranberries, grapes, oranges, and asparagus.

A man running along the beach stops to drink water

 

Stay Hydrated

It’s always important to stay well hydrated, but it’s particularly important to stay hydrated during the summer months. People lose lots of fluid through sweating, which makes dehydration even more likely.

Drinking too little water can cause leg and abdominal cramps and urinary and kidney problems.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • muscle cramps
  • dry mouth
  • extreme fatigue
  • heat intolerance
  • excessive thirst
  • feeling light-headed

A simple rule of thumb is to strive for eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily—and even more in the warmer months.

Exercise Your Legs for Better Health

Strong leg muscles are important for your overall health. They not only help keep your legs attractive and less prone to injury—they also help manage arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

In the summer, strong and well-toned legs look great and make it easier and more fun to participate in summer activities.

Keep legs strong by exercising them year-round. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, try walking. Walking every day is a great way to build leg strength and endurance.

Try to aim for 5 miles a day, but any amount of walking helps.

Select a Hair Removal Method

There are many ways to remove leg hair. If you’re not a big fan of razors, with their accompanying burns and cuts, you can try various depilatory products, an epilator, or even waxing.

Laser hair removal also is a popular alternative for removing hair from legs. However, even laser hair removal isn’t permanent. The time the treatments last will depend on your age, skin type, and other factors.

Now that you know how to get your legs ready for summer, enjoy these blog posts on summer skin and vein care:

Leg Pain – When Should I See a Doctor?

Leg Pain – When Should I See a Doctor?

We all want to take good care of our health. But no one wants to visit a doctor unnecessarily. However, you may wonder with leg pain—when should I see a doctor?

Here are helpful facts about when to contact a doctor about your leg pain.

 

Legs Are Complex

Legs comprise many biological structures, including veins, bones, tendons, cartilage, and nerves.

  • Vascular problems affect the blood vessels, including arteries and veins. Endovascular and vascular surgeons specialize in vascular problems in the body, excluding the brain and heart.
  • Musculoskeletal problems involve bones, ligaments, joints, and tendons. An orthopedic surgeon or orthopedist generally treats them.
  • Neurological problems involve nerves and the nervous system. Neurologists specialize in these medical issues.

Of course, the doctor or specialist to treat your leg pain depends on your specific leg problem.

 

If You don’t Know the Cause of Your Leg Pain – Where to Start

If you don’t know the cause of your leg pain, start by visiting a general practitioner. They will direct you to the best specialist for treatment if necessary.

At times, the medical problem isn’t in your leg at all—even if the pain is. Sometimes a person feels leg pain when the pain source is in another part of their body.

Sciatica pain is a good example of this; leg pain originates from a nerve pathway that starts in the patient’s spine.

Sciatica is often treated by exercise but see your general practitioner or a neurologist.

Steps to doing an exercise for sciatica

Sometimes, the cause of leg pain is obvious, such as with varicose veins. You can see the twisted veins right there on your leg. And you can feel the discomfort or pain.

If this is the case, you can start by immediately contacting an endovascular surgeon to assess and treat the problem.

So, let’s first look at the onset of the pain to determine what action you should take.

 

Acute or Chronic Leg Pain

How a pain starts, and the duration of the pain tells you something about the cause of your leg pain and whether you should contact a doctor.

Acute pain is sudden, sharp, and intense and lasts awhile. It warns of an immediate problem in the body and calls for immediate attention.

Chronic pain may start off more slowly and gently but can worsen and become a daily irritant. If you don’t know the cause of your chronic pain, and it has lasted for several days, it’s time to see a doctor.

But unless you’re in great discomfort, it’s probably fine to just schedule an appointment.

 

When To See a Doctor Immediately

If There’s Acute Leg Pain from an Injury

If you have pain in your leg caused by a deep cut, or an injury that leaves an exposed tendon or bone, immediately get to an emergency room or urgent care.

Not only are you prone to developing a serious infection, but you need emergency care to ensure your leg heals properly.

X-Rays or other tests may help your doctor make a complete diagnosis and then treat the leg properly so it can heal completely.

 

If You Have Any of the Following Unexplained Leg Pain Symptoms

You may feel it’s safe to ignore these symptoms for a few days, but it’s not.

Get immediate medical care if you have:

  • Swollen legs accompanied by breathing problems
  • Sudden inability to stand or put pressure on leg
  • Sudden severe leg pain
  • Calf pain after sitting for a long time—often after a long car trip or plane ride

A woman with pain in her calf sitting down and holding her calf

 

If You Suspect Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

The most common reason people experience calf pain is from a muscle injury. However, calf pain can be a sign of DVT—especially if it occurs shortly after a lengthy plane or car trip.

A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a leg. The blood clot can travel and lodge in the lungs, making this a potentially life-threatening situation.

You want this problem treated as soon as possible. The usual treatment is medication and wearing compression stockings.

Pain, cramping, soreness, or tenderness in the calf muscles are the most common DVT symptoms. You probably won’t feel a sharp or stabbing pain. You may think you have a muscle cramp but are actually feeling the formation of the deep vein clot.

Other DVT symptoms include swelling, redness, or discolored skin in the affected leg. The leg may also feel warm to the touch.

If you experience any of these symptoms shortly after your plane ride, contact your doctor. If you can’t reach your doctor, seek emergency care immediately.

 

Time to See a Doctor – But It’s Not an Emergency

Chronic unexplained leg pain is also a reason to see a doctor.

Call for an appointment if your leg pain is:

  • Uncomfortable
  • Persistent
  • Getting worse
  • Not going away after a few days

 

Sometimes All Your Leg Needs is Rest and TLC

Many of us experience leg pain from time to time. This includes muscle soreness from overuse of your legs or the occasional leg cramp.

Muscle cramps can be extremely painful.

They can be caused by:

  • overuse of muscles in hot weather
  • certain medications
  • diet
  • dehydration.

Gentle massaging and stretching can help leg cramps, as will a heating pad.

If you’ve been using your legs a lot, it’s common to have sore leg muscles and minor swelling.

Man applies cold compress to help sore leg muscles

For this, try to stay off your legs. It will help to apply ice to the swollen or painful area for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation, three times a day.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help you feel better too.

 

Varicose Veins Are a Common and Treatable Cause of Leg Pain

Varicose veins are a leg condition that, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, affects 35% of adults in the US. They are most common in adults over 50. And genetics can play a role too.

Varicose veins are twisted, blue/purple veins under your skin. They are most common on the legs, ankles, and feet.

Varicose veins can cause feelings of leg heaviness and pain

Varicose veins aren’t always a health risk, but they can become quite painful and they’re not pretty to look at.

Leg pain symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Tired legs at the end of the day
  • Dull ache in leg
  • Itchiness or tingling
  • Cramps
  • Heaviness

Today, there are treatments available for varicose veins to eliminate the pain and unsightly appearance of the veins. And your insurance may cover it!

If you would like to learn more about minimally invasive treatment options for varicose and spider veins, contact us at The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center.

Does Genetics Play a Role in Varicose Veins?

Does Genetics Play a Role in Varicose Veins?

Many people with varicose veins wonder if genetics played a role in their development—or if it destines them to get varicose veins if a parent has them. Is the answer all in your genes? And if it’s true that genetics plays a role in varicose veins, is there anything you can do to help?

To quote Sam Kean, an American science writer, “Genes are like the story, and DNA is the language that the story is written in.” But can you change your story?

According to the National Human Genome Human Research Institute, a genome is another name for the entirety of your DNA. Your DNA determines your specific genetic code and all the information needed to build and develop the one and only you! Each person has their own unique genome.

Learning about your own genome will provide insights into your own health and help you make healthful choices throughout your life.

So, there are things you can do, and good choices to make, to help yourself stay healthy. This applies to vein health as well.

close-up of legs with varicose veins

 

First, A Word About Varicose Veins

If a person has chronic venous insufficiency, they will develop varicose veins. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that makes it difficult for blood to flow back up to your heart easily. This occurs due to a problem with the tiny valves in the veins, or a weakening of the vein walls.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) usually affects veins in the legs. Blood flows in both directions and pools in the legs. The veins enlarge. We easily seen these enlarged veins since they usually bulge out of the skin. These veins are varicose veins.

 

Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Caused by Genetics?

Varicose veins are more likely to occur as a person ages. But what role does genetics play? Do gender, hormones, and ethnicity play a role?

Let’s see what the studies say.

Researchers have reported that they believe genetic factors play a big role in the development of varicose veins.

But the specific genetic factors influencing the development of varicose veins remain largely unknown and poorly understood. This, in part, is because there are many factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins. These factors range from hereditary factors to weight and lifestyle.

A man, woman, and two kids sitting on the edge of a pier

 

Gender and Varicose Vein Development

In one case-control study on 134 families, researchers found the following results:

  • If both parents had varicose veins, the risk for children of developing them was 90%.
  • If one parent had varicose veins, the risk for children developing them was 25% for males and 62% for females.
  • When only one parent had varicose veins, there seemed to be no correlation between the sex of the affected parent and the varicose veins in children.

They concluded their findings excluded a sex-linked pattern of inheritance.

Women have a greater chance of developing varicose veins than men do. How much genetics plays a role in this, and which genes are involved, is still to be determined.

 

Ethnicity and Varicose Vein Development

In a study of 2,211 people, chronic vein disease (the earliest stage is spider veins) “appeared to be more common in non-Hispanic whites than in Hispanics, African-Americans, and East Asians.” However, the study went on to say that these results were most likely linked with social habits; they did not seem to be linked to genetics.

A study of four ethnic groups in Southern California, using visual examination and ultrasound, showed that:

  • Varicose veins were present in 33% of woman and 17% of men, with no ethnic differences

It concluded that the presence of varicose veins varied by gender but not by ethnicity.

 

Hormones and Varicose Vein Development

Today, it is an accepted fact that women’s hormones can play a role in the development of varicose veins. During pregnancy, elevated hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone can thin the walls of veins, making pregnant women more susceptible to chronic venous insufficiency. Estrogen can also cause damage to the valves inside veins.

Menopause also will affect the health of women’s veins, but in the opposite way. During this time, a woman’s hormone levels decrease. This makes the walls of the veins thicker, less flexible, and more constricted.

Person in sneakers and compression socks walking up a grassy incline

 

How To Help Prevent Hereditary Varicose Veins

Clearly, there are some things about varicose veins that are out of our control—they are written somewhere in your DNA! But there are things you can do to help prevent them.

  • Keep at a healthy weight
  • Exercise—walking is great for vein health
  • Try to avoid sitting or standing still for long periods of time
  • Wear compression socks or stockings
  • Eat a healthy diet, including complex carbs and protein
  • Avoid salty food
  • Drink lots of water

If you have varicose veins . . .

If you have varicose veins that are simply unattractive, or that are causing you discomfort, make an appointment to see us at NJVVC. At our state-of-the-art vein center, you can have a complete vain evaluation, and receive treatment for your varicose veins.

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