Varicose Veins

Can Men Get Varicose Veins?

male-legsYou bet! You may be surprised to know that almost 40% of men have some form of varicose veins. Though more common in women, abnormal veins can be a significant problem for men. Symptoms of larger veins may include:

  • Aching and heaviness
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Leg swelling

Most men with varicose veins have a family history of similar problems. Obesity, prolonged standing and trauma or prior surgeries are also risk factors for varicose veins.

Varicose vein evaluation includes a brief physical exam and often an ultrasound to look for underlying vein problems that may be a contributing factor. Patients with large varicose veins often have valve dysfunction in veins beneath the skin, which results in excess pressure in the veins.

In general, abnormal veins are treated by shutting them down and redirecting blood into normal veins nearby. This may involve small injections (called “sclerotherapy”) or your doctor may use heat to cauterize and close “feeding veins” with abnormal valves. Almost all procedures are performed in the office with little or no down time, and insurance will often cover treatment of larger varicose veins that cause symptoms.

If you have unsightly or uncomfortable varicose veins, call the Emory Vein Center for an evaluation by one of our board certified vascular surgeons. Your legs will thank you!

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

What is that on my legs? Is it a Bruise or a Vein?

tired-legsVaricose veins often appear as blue or purple streaks on the legs, and larger veins may bulge or protrude above the surface of the skin. Spider veins are small red or blue veins that may look like a spider-web or branches on a tree. Larger varicose veins may look twisted and ropey, and may even be mistaken for a bruise. In general, symptoms become more likely as veins enlarge.

While most patients seek spider vein treatment for cosmetic reasons, varicose veins commonly may cause symptoms such as:

  • Aching
  • Heaviness
  • Itching
  • Cramping
  • Heat
  • Swelling

Though rarely dangerous, varicose veins can occasionally result in bleeding or superficial clotting, and may, in some cases, be a sign of more severe underlying vein problems.

When varicose veins begin to cause symptoms, or when the cosmetic appearance is causing distress, you should see your doctor. In addition to asking about your symptoms and examining your legs, an ultrasound will often be performed to evaluate the anatomy and function of your veins.

The Vascular Surgeons in the Emory Vein Center are specialists in the evaluation and treatment of blood vessel abnormalities, including varicose veins. Treatment is almost always performed in the office with little or no “down-time”, and often is covered by insurance. If you believe varicose veins may be your problem, please call for an appointment.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)J. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Takeaways from Dr. Rheudasil’s Varicose Vein Live Chat

Thanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, September 8, for our live online chat “Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment” hosted by Dr. Mark Rheudasil.

Although varicose veins may not be preventable, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will develop them. Dr. Rheudasil provided some insights on the cause of varicose veins along with tips on how to minimize varicose vein development and minimize the discomfort they cause for those who already have them.

Here are just a few highlights:

Question: I have a profession that requires me to be on my feet all day. I can’t change jobs at this point in my career but want to minimize or prevent the formation of varicose veins. What can I do?”

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Dr. Rheudasil: For people that spend a considerable amount of time on their feet, gravity causes blood to pool in the lower legs – especially when the veins are not functioning normally. This may cause aching or heaviness, and may increase the size of varicose veins. Wear knee-high support stockings, move around a bit so that the calf muscles contract and pump some of the blood out of the lower legs.

 

 

Question: Can losing weight help prevent varicose veins?

rheudasil-j-mark (1)

Dr. Rheudasil: Yes, veins have to pump blood out of the legs against excess weight, so losing weight and being fit helps vein flow and helps reduce varicose vein likelihood.

 

 

 

Question: I am pregnant and have developed varicose veins, which I understand is common, will these go away eventually, or do I need to seek treatment? There is minor pain from time to time.

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Dr. Rheudasil: Pregnancy is a very common risk factor for varicose veins. During pregnancy we prefer to be as conservative as possible, so we would recommend compression stockings and leg elevation. The veins will likely improve after delivery, but they will likely not go away. I would not recommend a specific treatment until after delivery.

 

 

Our chat participants submitted other questions about the effect of heel height on varicose vein formation, the relationship between heart disease and varicose veins, and whether itchy legs could be related to various veins. If you missed this chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript.

If you have additional questions for Dr. Rheudasil, feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Is There a Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

legs (1)Though spider veins and varicose veins are both classified as vein disorders, there are some distinct differences between them.

What do They Look Like?

Spider veins are small, wispy, web-like veins on the skin surface, usually less than one millimeter in diameter. They may be purple or red, and often appear in clusters or nests, which may look like a bruise. Varicose veins are larger veins, which often have a blue color and generally bulge under the skin. Both types of veins are visible and one of the primary treatment goals is an improvement in cosmetic appearance.

What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins are usually inherited. Obesity, female hormones and prolonged sitting or standing are also contributing factors. Varicose veins are most often a result of valves that function incorrectly. Normal valves allow blood to flow in only one direction—out of the leg and towards the heart. Faulty valves allow blood to flow backward into the leg, increasing pressure in the veins. This increased pressure dilates and elongates the vein, causing it to protrude and appear curved or twisted.

Do These Veins Cause Problems?

Spider veins do not usually cause symptoms, and are primarily treated to improve appearance. Varicose veins often cause heaviness, aching or pressure. They can also cause fatigue, and sometimes restless or jittery legs and itching. Swelling may be a result of vein insufficiency, but, often involves malfunctioning veins deep in the leg as well. Relief of discomfort is the reason most varicose veins are treated.

How Are Varicose Veins Treated?

Varicose veins are almost always treated in the office with minimally invasive techniques. Sclerotherapy—the injection of a dilute solution into the vein, shutting it down—can be used to treat smaller veins, while larger veins may also be treated with sclerotherapy, ablation of faulty veins and excision or mini-phlebectomy (removal) are also commonly performed treatments. The goal is to divert blood from abnormal veins into nearby normal veins, which easily accommodate the extra load. These procedures involve minimal pain and little or no down time. If you are interested in treating your spider or varicose veins, please call the Emory Vein Center for treatment by a board certified vascular surgeon.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)J. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment

vv2-calloutThough they may not be preventable, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will develop varicose veins. If you already have them, treatment can almost always be performed in the office with minimally invasive techniques with very little discomfort or down time.

Join us Tuesday, September 8, at 12:00 p.m. for a live, interactive web chat about “Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment”.

Dr. Rheudasil will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about varicose vein pain prevention and treatment options. During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our September 8 chat.

Chat Sign Up

rheudasil-j-mark (1)About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Can I Inherit Varicose Veins?

vein_ 7-29Varicose veins are large, abnormal blood vessels visible on the skin surface. They almost always affect the legs, and often appear as bulging, twisted blue veins. Many theories exist for why varicosities occur in veins, but the consensus is that weak vein walls and valves are the main cause. Inside your larger veins are valves that allow blood to flow toward the heart, but, open to prevent backward flow of blood toward the feet (reflux).

If the valves don’t function properly, excess blood will remain in the veins, raising the pressure and causing them to swell and distend. Some veins will enlarge enough to weaken the walls and become varicose. Though rarely dangerous, varicose veins can often cause symptoms of aching, weakness or heaviness.

The Role of Genetics

Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for developing varicose veins and spider veins. Your risk of developing varicose veins is increased if a close family member has the condition, suggesting a relationship between genetics and the onset of varicose veins.

So just how do genetics affect your veins?

• Some people can inherit problems such as having too few valves or valves that do not function properly.

• Some people may be born with abnormalities of the vein wall. The resulting weakness may predispose the valves to separate and become leaky.

Some groups of people can be easily identified as inheriting varicose veins. Varicose veins during pregnancy are more likely to affect women who have a family history of varicose veins. Varicose veins that occur in younger patients (20s or even younger) are also believed to be inherited in most cases.

Prevention

If you know that close family members have had varicose veins and that you already have a strong genetic predisposition for varicose veins, you can take steps to prevent their onset.

• Lifestyle changes – Take measures to keep your legs strong and in good shape. Walking and exercising helps promote venous circulation by pumping the blood out of your legs and back up to your heart. Adopting a healthy diet can be helpful in keeping weight off and preventing varicose veins. Eating a low-salt diet helps reduce water retention and swelling.

• Compression stockings – Wearing medium, graduated-compression stockings daily, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet, will do wonders at preventing the development and/or progression of varicose veins.

• See your doctor and get treatment – Get an evaluation to see if you have venous insufficiency. Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive office-based treatment that is very effective in relieving superficial venous insufficiency. You can check out my recent blog on The Latest in Vein Treatment Technology for more information.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-markJ. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics in vascular surgery.

The Latest in Vein Treatment Technology

Varicose Vein TreatmentVein problems are incredibly common. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 60% of all men and women suffer from some form of vein disorder. Specifically, 80 million Americans suffer from varicose veins and/or spider veins. A number of factors contribute to vein problems, including genetics, being overweight, female, pregnant and/or spending a lot of time on your feet.

The fact that modern-day treatment is relatively simple is great news to the millions of Americans who suffer from varicose veins. Veins are designed to return blood from the legs back to the heart. When veins become varicose or enlarged, blood will pool in these superficial veins rather than efficiently emptying out of the legs. This excess blood, and the pressure that results, stretches and dilates the veins and often leads to symptoms of aching, heaviness and fatigue.

Treatment for vein problems has become much less invasive over the last 10 years. In the past, treatment meant surgery: incisions, anesthesia, pain, and a long recovery. Now, vein issues can be treated using more effective and less invasive procedures.

One interesting new treatment for varicose veins is known as sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a small volume of liquid into the diseased vein. The sclerosing solution causes the abnormal vein to close. This procedure uses a very fine needle that is nearly pain-free, and extremely effective in treating varicose veins.

Another interesting treatment is known as endovenous laser ablation therapy (EVLT). In EVLT, a thin laser fiber is inserted into the diseased vein. Laser energy is then delivered through a fiber, causing the vein to close. The loss of the diseased vein does not compromise the circulatory system, since blood will flow through other healthy veins after the procedure.

The best part about these new technologies? There is no down time with sclerotherapy or ablation therapy. A compression stocking may be required for a few days, but, normal activity is encourag

If you have bothersome veins and would like evaluation by one of our board-certified vascular surgeons, please contact the Emory Vein Center for a consultation. Your legs will thank you!

Call 404-778-VEIN or request an appointment online today!

About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MDMark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics in vascular surgery.

Takeaways from Dr. Rheudasil’s Vein Live Chat

Varicose Vein ChatThanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, April 14 for the live online chat entitled “What causes varicose veins or spider veins?,” hosted by Emory Vein Center physician J. Mark Rheudasil, MD.

While it’s important to look your best, it’s also important to feel your best. Males, females, the young and the old. Varicose veins can affect anyone. So have you ever wondered what causes those unsightly bulges and twists to appear on your legs? Check out the conversation by viewing the chat transcript! Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Question: How helpful are compression stockings for preventing and/or slowing down development of varicose veins?

Mark Rheudasil, MDDr. Rheudasil: Great question! Compression stockings are helpful in minimizing the progression of varicose veins. They do not in most cases, however, prevent varicose veins from developing. They are helpful in reducing the symptoms associated with varicose veins. I recently published a blog on this very topic. You can check it out here.

 

Question: I am 4 months pregnant with my first child. My mother has warned me about the spider veins she developed when carrying my brother and me. Is there anything I can do now to lessen my risk for spider veins during and after pregnancy?

Mark Rheudasil, MDDr. Rheudasil: Compression stockings or support hose and frequent leg elevation during pregnancy are the mainstays of treatment. Veins may well worsen during pregnancy and may require prescription stockings. While we usually try to avoid vein treatment during pregnancy, we can help you get in the correct stockings and advise regarding symptom relief, etc . Feel free to call 404-778-VEIN to make an appointment.

Question: For several months, I have had pretty bad pain my my legs and sometimes they even swell. I haven’t talked to my doctor about it yet. Should I start with my PCP or see a vascular surgeon to determine the cause?

Mark Rheudasil, MDDr. Rheudasil: Good question, Junior. If you don’t have obvious/visible varicose veins, then swelling could be from multiple sources. A general medical evaluation by your PCP would be a great place to start.

 

Question: I am 22 and have spider veins. They are not lumpy but are very obvious. They are on the backs of my legs and mainly on the left leg. I am so worried that because I am only 22 they are going to get really bad. Am I too young to seek treatment?

Mark Rheudasil, MDDr. Rheudasil: You’re never too young to be evaluated for veins that bother you. We’re happy to see you and make recommendations for treatment! Here’s our online appointment request form.

 

If you missed this chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript. For more information or to request an appointment with a vascular surgeon, visit emoryhealthcare.org/veincenter.

If you have additional questions for Dr. Rheudasil, feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

 

 

 

Did Crossing My Legs Cause These Veins?

Varicose Veins Leg Crossing“Did crossing my legs cause these veins?” This is one of the most common questions I hear when I evaluate patients with varicose veins. The simple answer is NO! In most cases, varicose veins are inherited. Being overweight, female, pregnant and/or spending a lot of time on your feet are common risk factors. Veins are designed to return blood from the legs back to the heart. When veins become varicose or enlarged, blood will pool in these superficial veins rather than efficiently emptying out of the legs. This excess blood, and the pressure that results, stretches and dilates the veins and often leads to symptoms of aching, heaviness and fatigue.

Early treatment should include:

  • Leg elevation and compression stockings
  • Exercise – something as simple as walking may help symptoms considerably

When symptoms become more severe, your doctor may recommend more specific treatment. Minor procedures used to treat varicose veins are almost always performed in the office with little or no recovery time. The goal is to close the abnormal vein and relieve the pressure, and often the unsightly appearance of the varicose veins.

If you have bothersome veins and would like evaluation by one of our board-certified vascular surgeons, please contact the Emory Vein Center for a consultation. Your legs will thank you!

Call 404-778-VEIN or request an appointment online today!

About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MDMark Rheudasil, MD,  graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics including current reviews of vascular surgery.

What Causes Varicose Veins or Spider Veins? – Join Us for a Live Web Chat!

Varicose Spider VeinsWhile it’s important to look your best, it’s also important to feel your best. Males, females, the young and the old. Varicose veins can affect anyone. So have you ever wondered what causes those unsightly bulges and twists to appear on your legs?

Join us on Tuesday, April 14, at 12:00 p.m. for an interactive web chat discussing the causes of varicose veins and spider veins. Dr. Rheudasil will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics, including the causes, prevention and treatment of varicose veins.

During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

REGISTER NOW for our April 14 chat at emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats.

About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MDMark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics including current reviews of vascular surgery.