Vein Disease

Vein disease is a very common problem. It afflicts about 10% of Americans. A staggering ~30 million Americans are affected by vein disease. Most people are not aware that it can be treated. Also, many people do not know where and who to get help from and how to go about getting a consultation.

What causes vein disease?

Vein disease is a blood flow problem. When blood flows from the heart to the foot, it flows through the arteries. When it flows from foot back to the heart, it flows through the veins. Hence, In the veins, blood flows from the foot back to the heart against gravity. Blood, being a heavy liquid, has a tendency to flow backwards towards the feet. However, the valves in the veins prevent blood from flowing backward. If the valves do not work normally, some of the blood tends to pool in the legs. This worsens towards the later part of the day as people are up and about on their legs through the day. Untreated, valvular dysfunction as described above, leads to a multitude of symptoms

Who Gets
Vein Problems?

People who are up and about on their legs through the day, be it in household capacities or by the nature of their profession, are at risk of developing valvular dysfunction and symptomatic venous insufficiency. Women tend to get it more as pregnancies increase the stress on the valves of the veins in the legs. Women typically notice it after one or two pregnancies. People who are obese are at higher risk of having vein problems. People who have a family history of vein problems may have inherited weaker valves and are at higher risk of developing vein disease. People who have had clots in the veins in the past also are at higher risk of developing valve dysfunction and consequent venous insufficiency. Lastly, people who have been treated for vein problems in one set of veins may develop vein problems in other sets of veins later in their lives.

What Are The Symptoms Of
Vein Disease?

Dysfunction of valves and the pooling of blood in the legs lead to a variety of symptoms. People may display a combination of one or more symptoms. Patients feel that the legs are heavy, achy, or tired, especially, towards the latter part of the day after being up and about on their legs. People can also develop swelling in the legs that is worse towards the later part of the day. Some people notice that if they sit down and put their legs up, they feel much better. Long-term pooling of blood in the legs with increased pressure in the legs leads to skin branches of the veins becoming engorged and show up as varicose veins. Some people have itching or throbbing over varicose veins. Spontaneous clotting of varicose veins with pain can also occur. Some people may develop thinned-out varicose veins that may spontaneously bleed. Some people develop smaller multiple pink-looking spider veins. Over the long term, if vein problems are untreated, people develop skin discoloration and skin thickening, especially, in the shins. Eventually, some people may develop skin ulcerations that are difficult to heal.

Who to approach if I have vein problems?

If you have symptoms such as the ones described above, you should approach a vein specialist for treatment. Vascular surgeons are best suited to treat this condition as they have the ability to offer all the modalities of treatment including medical, minimally invasive or surgical treatment for vein problems. You may self-refer yourself to a vein specialist. Alternatively, you may approach your primary physician who may then refer you to a vein specialist. To make an appointment yourself call 248243-3936

Is Vein Treatment Covered
By Insurance?

Yes, all vein consultations and ultrasound tests are covered by insurance. If a vein specialist makes the determination that you have symptomatic vein disease that cannot be managed with conservative methods, all treatment is covered by insurance companies. There are certain aspects of cosmetic vein treatment that are not covered by insurance. Vein specialists have this information and they can explain to you what is covered and what is not covered at the time of your consultation. Be assured that if you have symptomatic vein disease, it is most likely covered by insurance.

How Involved Is The
Process?

When you seek a consultation, if you have appropriate symptoms you will need an ultrasound test to diagnose the vein problem.  If you have a vein problem that is determined on the ultrasound and conservative treatment including Compression Stocking trial is ineffective, then, you are, in most cases, eligible for laser, radiofrequency or Venaseal ablation of veins.  The ablation is minimally invasive and has almost no downtime.  It is done as an office-based procedure under local anesthesia.  Please refer to the Vein Treatment section for further details. Larger varicose veins can be removed by a procedure called Micro-Phlebectomy if they do not disappear after ablation treatment. Smaller Spider veins can be treated with Sclerotherapy.