Varicose Veins: A Family Affair

Varicose veins on the womans legWe inherit many physical characteristics from our parents and grandparents, such as eye color or height. Some health issues are also inherited, including varicose veins. It’s a fact that if one of your parents has varicose veins, you have a 45 to 50 percent risk of developing them too. If both of your parents have varicose veins, you have a greater than 90 percent risk factor of developing varicose veins yourself.

Varicose veins, which usually occur in the legs, are swollen, twisted veins that can protrude from the skin or can be seen just under the skin. They can cause aching pain or heaviness that gets worse after sitting or standing for a long time. Other symptoms of venous disease include swelling, cramps, restless leg syndrome, numbness, and tingling.

Varicose veins are very common and people often think that older, inactive people are the only ones that suffer from varicose veins, but that is not true. For example, Summer Sanders, a former gold-medal Olympic swimmer who is now a sports commentator and TV show host, is a very active mother of two young children. Other famous people such as Britney Spears, Jessica Alba, Serena Williams, Krystin Davis, and Emma Thompson reportedly suffer from varicose vein disease. All of these people are active and on their feet a lot. Like many of those with varicose veins or venous disease, noticing that their legs were heavy and achy after a long day brought this disease to their attention.

While heredity is one of the major risk factors for developing varicose veins, it’s not the only one. Other risk factors are pregnancies, long periods of standing on your feet at work (hairdressers, teachers, nurses), obesity, and being female. You can’t prevent varicose veins from forming, but treatment no longer means a hospital stay followed by a long recovery. Varicose veins can now be treated with the latest laser treatment called EVLA (endovenous laser ablation) which closes the incompetent veins. This is an outpatient procedure that allows most patients return to normal daily activities the same day or the next.

We have treated many families with varicose veins. I have heard the statement, you “go first Mom and have the laser treatment, and if all goes well then I will get an evaluation.”

The evaluation and treatment is covered by most insurance companies, including Medicare. Our office will work with your insurance company and Medicare to obtain the appropriate authorizations.

Contact The Vein Specialists at 309-862-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians or request an appointment online. We have convenient locations at 3302 Gerig Drive in Bloomington and 2011 Rock Street, Suite D2 in Peru.