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Healthwise: Varicose Veins

September 1, 2010

Varicose veins is a condition that plagues more than 30 percent of adult Americans, with the condition being more common for women than men.

"We most often see it in women than men. Men certainly can get the condition, and people that have jobs that require them to be on their feet for long periods," said vascular surgeon, Doctor Lewis Owens.

Not only are the lumpy, bumpy veins aesthetically unpleasing, Dr. Owens, of CRL Surgical Associates in Charlottesville, says they are a real medical concern.

"Varicose veins can present challenging complications, which include chronic venous ulcers that occur because the pressure in the leg is so high that the most innocuous little scratch can develop into a chronic sore that doesn't heal for months," said Dr. Owens.

Dr. Owens and his staff are helping treat people in the area using ultra sound lasers. The procedure is called Endovenous Laser Treatment, and it's one of the newest procedures to cure varicose veins. He says if treatment is started early, it could prevent serious circulatory problems.

"Instead of actually stripping out these veins, we can actually close them down internally. Then, the body immediately re-routes your blood towards veins that have healthy valves and helps decompress your legs to absorb the lumpy, bumpy varicosites," said Dr. Owens.

Doctors say the best way to prevent varicose veins is to wear supportive shoes when you know you're going to be standing for a long period of time. They also suggest exercise to keep the blood pumping in you legs.

If you start treatment early, Dr. Owens says it could prevent serious future chronic circulatory problems and keep your legs in great shape.

Dr. Owens says anyone seeking treatment for varicose veins should find a vasular specialist who is very familiar with all aspects of the deep and superficial veins system and confident with the procedure.


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