varicose eczemaWhat is Varicose Eczema?

Varicose Eczema is an inflamed area of skin on the leg, with distinct color and texture changes. It is caused by a fault in the function of the veins under the skin called superficial venous reflux. It may also be caused by a problem in the deep veins following a deep vein thrombosis. Because it is a warning sign that you are at risk of a leg ulcer, it is considered to be a serious condition, particularly if symptoms become especially troublesome.

What is the cause of varicose eczema?

Varicose eczema occurs when blood doesn’t flow normally and the skin does not receive the nutrients and oxygen that it needs to remain healthy. As a result, the skin is damaged and becomes inflamed. As part of the body’s normal response to injury, the skin becomes red, itchy, and thickened. The areas of affected skin look very similar in the early stages, like a patch of dermatitis or eczema. However, the underlying problem with varicose eczema in the veins.

What does varicose eczema look like?

The characteristic feature of varicose eczema is where it is found on the leg. Virtually all cases of varicose eczema show up around the ankle, just above the ankle bones. As a precaution, any patch of dry, scaly, red itchy skin around the ankle should be considered varicose eczema until proven otherwise. Correct diagnosis by a vein specialist is crucial and should be done as soon as possible upon identifying these symptoms.varicose eczema on ankles

 

In the installation of this series of blog posts, we will discuss what to do if you think you have varicose eczema, the home treatments that can help, when to seek medical care, who is qualified to help, and what can happen if it is not treated. You will want to learn all you can about this potentially damaging condition.

If you suspect that you have varicose veins or a vein specialist has confirmed the diagnosis already, the next steps are crucial for your vein and overall health. For some people, varicose veins never progress past their current state. However, others may find the symptoms become increasingly worse. Worse yet, they could indicate a more serious underlying condition. Seeking non-surgical treatment of varicose veins is sometimes your best option.

At-home care for varicose veins

At a minimum, there are things you can start doing right away to reduce the symptoms and possibly keep your varicose veins from getting worse. These at-home care practices include:

  • Wearing compression stockings to reduce swelling and aid blood flow, helping slow down their development.
  • Exercising more regularly. Swimming, walking and, running are particularly effective.
  • Cutting down on foods high in fat and sugar.

When to see a specialist about non-surgical treatment of varicose veins

If you are experiencing symptoms like itching, swelling, and tired, achy legs, it is time to seek treatment with a vein specialist. These days, there are non-invasive treatment options available that do not require extensive surgery–as long as the condition is caught in time. These options are virtually pain-free, with no downtime, so you can pick up right where you left off with your life.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.

 

The benefits of non-surgical treatment for varicose veins are many, and include:

  • Fast recovery
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • No hospitalization
  • No general anesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

The vein specialists at Grand Junction Vein Center can help determine if you are a good candidate for non-surgical treatment of varicose veins. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

 

varicose veins bleedingVaricose veins are one of the most common venous issues that people can suffer from. Affecting up to a third of all adults, they can cause enough problems to warrant being able to tell them apart from veins that happen to be more visible under your skin. And it’s not just about how they look. How they function is also an important consideration.

Varicose Vein Characteristics

The job of your veins is to carry oxygen-rich blood from around the body, back up to the heart. However, when the vein valves or vein walls become damaged, this can lead to Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI. This condition is marked by the blood being unable to sufficiently flow.

Instead, blood begins to reflux or pool. This can either lead to the twisted, enlarged vessels you know as varicose veins or the smaller web-like veins, known as spider veins.

Telling the Difference Between Normal Veins and Varicose Veins

In order to tell the difference between varicose veins and normal veins, you will need to understand how the two differ in function. For instance, healthy veins bring red oxygenated blood from the heart down into the legs and blue deoxygenated blood back up to the heart again. Normal veins aren’t usually visible except when you’re exercising. With physical exertion, veins pump blood to the surface of the skin to keep you cool. However, even when they are visible, they appear below the surface and do not have raised edges.

By contrast, varicose veins tend to appear as raised or even bulging veins, most often a green or purple color. This is because the blue blood mixes with the yellow of the skin pigment in the light. They can also appear twisted and in groups.

In addition, varicose veins can also cause a range of symptoms. Usually, if the affected areas become itchy, swollen, or cause a burning sensation, particularly at the end of the day, you are most likely dealing with varicose veins.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Varicose Veins

If you suspect that you have a varicose vein problem, you will want to get them checked out to be sure they are taken care of early. Varicose veins can sometimes be masked by other veins that are closer to the skin. Seeing a vein expert like Dr. Morse at Grand Junction Vein Center is the best way to check all your veins. He can do a full image scan of your legs or other affected areas using ultrasound technology to observe even the deepest veins.

varicose veins bleedingInvasive varicose vein surgery is usually necessary to repair severely damaged veins. But how do you know if your varicose veins have progressed that far?

Fortunately, there are many types of varicose vein surgery. These types range from minimally invasive to invasive, which most vein doctors will recommend first. They may even recommend conservative steps like wearing compression stockings or losing weight before even considering minimally invasive or invasive surgical treatment procedures.

What’s the Difference Between Invasive and Minimally Invasive Vein Surgery?

A minimally invasive varicose vein surgery is typically an outpatient procedure performed under a small amount of local anesthetics. It usually involves making small incisions to allow access to the damaged vein.  Doctors will then use the incision to insert a small catheter. This is used to give access to a laser, radiowave, foam, or sclerosant solution being used to treat the vein.

Minimally invasive vein procedures are usually completed in under an hour. They often only require a small bandage over the incision area.

On the other end of the spectrum is invasive varicose vein surgery. This type of procedure is much more intense and is used to completely remove a damaged vein from the body.   General anesthesia is often required and recovery time is substantially longer. Roughly 10% of severe varicose vein cases result in invasive vein surgeries.

That is why early detection and treatment are so important.

If you have symptoms of varicose veins such as enlarged veins that are bluish or purplish in color, you may want to consider seeing a vein specialist.

Other signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:

Itchiness around the affected site
Feeling of heaviness on the legs
A throbbing sensation on the lower extremities
Worsening pain after sitting or standing for a long time

Call Grand Junction Vein Center at 970-242-VEIN (8346) today to set up an appointment if you are concerned about your veins. You may be avoiding a more serious condition down the road.

Varicose Vein At-Home Treatment

treat varicose veins at homeYou may be wondering: How do I treat varicose veins? Is it possible to avoid seeing a specialist? Or do I need surgery?

While some varicose veins require medical treatment, others can be managed effectively at home. For instance, if your symptoms are on the mild side, you might be able to manage them and even reduce their severity. Here are a few tips to help you on the way to home care:

  • Wear compression stockings to assist blood-flow.
  • Exercise regularly. Try swimming, cycling, and walking to increase your muscle tone and stamina without putting a lot of pressure on your tissues.
  • Eat more high-fiber foods like fruits and veggies. Add more foods with higher amounts of flavonoids like apples, cherries, and blueberries to your diet for even greater benefit.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid tight or high-heeled footwear. The last thing you want to do is cut off your circulation or put strain on your lower legs and feet.
  • Where possible, rest and elevate the legs at the end of the day. Sitting or standing all day is not good for your circulation.

When to Seek Professional Varicose Vein Treatment

After trying all of these, if the symptoms of your varicose veins persist or seem to be getting worse, then it’s probably time to speak to a vein specialist. They can help you evaluate your treatment options. This is especially true if your varicose veins start to interfere with your daily life. On the other hand, if you ignore the problem, you risk more serious issues like blood clots, ulcers, chronic swelling, and skin issues like eczema and discoloration.

Medical treatment of varicose veins is nothing to be afraid of. Most of the time, it can be done non-surgically through a treatment plan customized to your needs.

Is it time for you to see someone to treat your varicose veins? Call Grand Junction Vein Center today at (970) 242-8346 and we will get you taken care of right away.

Human foot with varicose veinsMost people think of varicose veins as only affecting your calves or thighs. But if you have twisted veins in your legs, it’s not hard to realize that you may have them in your feet as well. In fact, this is a relatively common occurrence.

A lot of people suffer from varicose veins in their feet and even in their ankles. That is why is so important to understand what causes varicose veins in the feet and ankles. Knowing how to manage and treat them is also crucial to overall vein health.

Causes of Varicose Veins in the Feet

Varicose veins and spider veins occur in the feet and ankles when there’s a chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins aren’t able to properly pump blood into and out of an area of the body. In this case, it involves the feet and lower legs.

CVI causes the blood to pool into the veins closer to the surface of the skin. This leads to the bulging and twisted veins that are associated with varicose veins. As it progresses, it can lead to weakened and even damaged vein walls. These symptoms can range from purely aesthetic to more serious conditions.

The problem is, having varicose veins in the feet can directly affect your day to day activities. Any discomfort from these veins can cause painful walking, driving, and even sitting. It and can also lead to discoloration, swelling, pain, and irritation in the skin.

When to Seek Treatment for Varicose Veins in Your Feet

Varicose veins in the feet and even their smaller cousins, spider veins, can be a problem in the long term. That is why you need to keep an eye on your legs and feet for any signs of worsening symptoms. As always, Grand Junction Vein Center is here to assess your varicosities at any stage. We can tell you if you need treatment or if there are other options to manage your condition.

varicose veins symptoms

A varicose vein is a medical condition that causes pain and swelling in the legs. They are usually recognized by the enlarged veins that are easily spotted. Varicose veins usually don’t have any pain or discomfort associated with them and the appearance of them is usually the only symptom. They can be blue or purplish in color and can look like twisted and winding veins that may have bulges in places. Their resemblance to spider legs is why they are sometimes referred to as spider veins. Varicose veins are usually found in the legs but can appear in other parts of the body as well.

If you have leg pain you should check these following symptoms to discover whether or not you are a victim of this medical condition.

1. Enlarged Veins

Enlarged veins are the biggest visual to let you know if you have varicose veins. Most are dark blue and do not heal. Once they appear they stay unless they are treated by a doctor. Our vein care specialists can assist you with the best treatment options available today.

2. Swollen feet and ankles

If your feet and ankles are often swollen this can be another sign of poor working veins. When the veins are swollen they are not able to remove fluids from the areas furthest away from the heart. This is why people will have feet and ankles that appear bloated.

3. Muscle cramps

Muscle cramps are another signal of this ailment. The veins should transport nutrients to and from the various areas in your body. Cramps are a sign that your muscles are not getting the proper nutrients it needs to function. You may get supplements to help but any cramps in your legs without exercise or exertion should be noted as it is a clear symptom of varicose veins.

4. Slow healing of bruises

If you get bruises or wounds that do not heal right away then this is one of the varicose veins symptoms. Bruises are an accumulation of blood that is stagnant underneath the skin layer. Your veins may not be strong and when hit or touched can easily break. If they take a long time to heal this should raise a red flag to concern you.

5. Poor circulation

How well your veins work will affect your circulation. If you get hot or cold easily and need to wear an additional layer of clothing during the winter months, you may be susceptible to poor circulation. The outer body regions are normally the greatest affected by outside temperature changes. If you have cold hands and feet and this can mean that your heart is not pumping adequately or there is a disturbance in your cardiovascular system.

It is especially important to be aware of the varicose veins symptoms becoming a more serious problem. Occasional appearance may be normal, but if this excessively appears, it is always best to consult your physician.

However, many of the top symptoms that relate to this disease can point to bigger health problems. The problems that you have with your veins can all be precursors to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and poor heart health.

Woman with varicose veins applying compression bandageWhat are compression socks?

Compression stockings are specialized socks that cover from your ankle to your knee and sometimes as high as your thigh. The socks are tight and provide graduated pressure up the leg. Compression socks or stockings are pretty effective for treating a certain type of disorders such as varicose veins, chronic circulatory diseases, diabetics, chronic venous insufficiency, lymphedema, thrombosis and many other types of conditions, the purpose of the compression sock is to help reduce the edema of the legs, to prevent blood pooling, to help improve circulation and help reduce the risk of blood clot formation.

If you have been advised by your doctor to wear compression stockings, then you should probably ensure that you wear them each day – unless you’ve been instructed otherwise. Along with helping to prevent harmful and dangerous blood clots from forming, they are also sometimes used by individuals who have chronic venous insufficiency or have difficulties with varicose veins. Those who are known to have lymphedema or anyone suffering from post-phlebitis syndrome are also advised to wear them.

People who are diabetic will sometimes wear compression stockings in order to help prevent the occurrence of leg ulcers or to heal them.

If you have been diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency, compression stockings could be a huge benefit to you and your personal health. They are often worn for this condition because it causes the veins in the legs to be unable to pump the right amount of blood back to the heart. This can cause the legs and ankles to swell up; compression stockings help to reduce the amount of swelling that occurs.

If you suffer from varicose veins, you will typically have enlarged veins that may be swollen after you’ve been on your feet for a lengthy period of time. These veins can be very painful and can also be connected with various other blood circulation problems. People who have varicose veins will wear these stockings on a daily basis – as a treatment for their condition.

Lymphedema is a condition where arms or legs will swell up due to blockages in the body that do not allow the lymph fluids to drain in the correct manner. Individuals with this condition will wear these stockings at night and also elevate their legs in order to reduce the amount of swelling that occurs.

The socks should be removed at night time or when sleeping and that is recommended that socks should be put on before getting out of the bed in the morning and be worn throughout the day, one should also rest and elevate the foot and leg area to reduce pain and inflammation, to wear compression socks will depend on the patient’s condition and also the risk of developing blood clots, some conditions require a long-term solution or even a lifelong use. There are no known complications with wearing compression stockings; however, there will be a sustainable amount of time before completely adjusting. You might complain of warm legs if wearing the socks in hot weather all day long. If you have an increased risk of forming blood clots in the leg, you should wear the stockings all day, removing them at night. For those with varicose veins and venous ulcers, they should be worn for years.

chronic veinous insufficiency in the lower legChronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition wherein the leg veins are not able to pump enough blood back to the heart. It is caused by congenital absence of or damage to venous valves; venous incompetence from thrombi; and thrombi formation that is primarily caused by venous stasis, hypercoagulability, and endothelial trauma, collectively known as Virchow triad. This makes it more difficult for blood in the legs to return to the heart, which may lead the blood to pool in the leg veins, which may appear as varicose veins. The condition may come with various symptoms and may even lead some individuals to feel embarrassed due to the often unsightly appearance of varicose veins.

Risk factors for developing chronic venous insufficiency include deep vein thrombosis, obesity, pregnancy, family history of varicose veins, existing varicose veins, inactivity, smoking, being female, being over the age of 50, and those who go through extended periods of sitting or standing. It is important to recognize these risk factors and take proper steps that may help avoid the condition. This may be as simple as getting up to stretch one’s legs periodically at work or taking a minute or two to sit down if standing for an extended period. A doctor may offer specific advice depending on the risk factors present.

People with CVI have varicose veins due to the increased venous pressure on the legs. Complaints of leg discomfort are common primarily due to venous hypertension from prolonged standing. Patients would describe this as a burning sensation, dull ache, or heaviness in the legs. Leg edema is also present due to the damage in the capillary membranes. Skin changes in the legs can also be seen due to capillary proliferation, fat necrosis, and fibrosis of the skin and subcutaneous tissues. The skin appears reddish or brown due to hemosiderin deposition. Skin ulcers are often seen due to poor blood flow to the lower extremities.

As the seriousness of this condition may increase with time, it is important to see a doctor upon noticing any of the symptoms of the condition. Symptoms may include swelling in the lower legs or ankles (especially after sitting or standing for prolonged periods); aching in the legs; tiredness in the legs; newly appeared varicose veins; skin on the legs or feet begins to flake and/or itch; stasis ulcers; and skin that appears leathery on the legs. Waiting for these symptoms to go away will not be effective, so it is important to see a doctor immediately, as early treatment of the condition may lead to better results.

Chronic venous insufficiency is most easily treated when it is recognized in an early stage. Treatment may vary depending on the particular circumstances and some doctors may recommend a combination of treatment. Individuals may be encouraged to avoid long periods of standing or sitting, exercise on a regular basis, lose weight if they are overweight, elevate their legs above the heart, and wear compression stockings and practice good hygiene-especially when it comes to the skin. Some may be given antibiotics to treat any skin infections.

There are also surgical or minimally-invasive treatments available such as sclerotherapy; endovenous laser ablation, vein stripping or ligation, vein bypass, and others. Vein ligation is indicated for patients with severe leg pain, skin ulcers due to poor venous blood flow, and thickening and hardening of the skin in the affected leg. Sclerotherapy is also used to manage CVI; where the physician injects a strong chemical to the affected veins, scarring the abnormal vein, which results in the inability of the veins to fill with blood. The blood will then be returned back to the heart using other veins. Ablation can also be done where a catheter is inserted into the varicose vein, heating its walls and destroying the vein tissue.

Whether these surgical or minimally-invasive options may be helpful is something that should be discussed with a physician.

Varicocele Grand Junction Varicocele is a common male reproductive disorder. Varicocele occurs when the veins found in the scrotum become enlarged. The cause of these enlarged veins (or varicose veins) is due to the abnormal flow of blood into the testicles. In a man that doesn’t have Varicocele; the blow flows normally to the testicles through an artery and then flows out via a network of tiny veins that then drains into a larger, longer vein that travels up through the abdomen. The direction of this blood flow in the vein should always be upwards, towards the heart. A collection of one-way valves in the vein prevent the flow of this blood reversing back into the testicles.

What Causes Varicocele?

These one-way valves sometimes fail. The reverse flow of blood stretches and enlarges the tiny veins around the testicle to cause a Varicocele, a tangled network of blood vessels, or a varicose vein. Varicocele is more common among young males in their twenties or thirties. According to some studies and research, this condition affects approximately 10 percent of the male population. This condition can be very painful especially if the patient has had a Varicocele for a considerable length of time.

Signs and Symptoms of Varicocele

The first telling symptom is a throbbing pain localized in the male genital region. You can feel this either while standing or sitting for long periods of time. This condition and the pain can be made worse if you are doing heavy lifting or exerting energy that could impact on that region.
Varicocele is also one of the causes of infertility among men. The link between the two is not yet clear, but many researchers theorize that the increase in temperature due to the enlarged veins is causing problems in the production of healthy sperm. Moreover, other symptoms of this disorder that is linked to problems infertility are low sperm count, decreased sperm movement, and an increase in the number of deformed sperm cells.
Finally, the most serious sign of this disorder is testicular atrophy or the shrinking of the testicles. This is commonly diagnosed when there is an observable size difference between the two testicles.

Treatment of Varicocele

If you have been diagnosed with this disorder, there are a number of treatments that you can choose from. This disorder is usually harmless for the affected individual, but if there is pain, swelling, and signs of infertility, then treatment is really necessary. For those who are in the early stages of the disorder, may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory. It’s most likely that your physician will instruct you to wear more comfortable underwear to provide the necessary support to the testicles.

However, if anti-inflammatories do not alleviate the pain or swelling, then your physician may recommend the Varicocele surgery known as a varicocelectomy.

Surgery for Varicocele

This procedure is done by an urologist using local anesthesia. During surgery, the enlarged veins are tied off and the blood flow is redirected to normal flowing veins. After surgery, the patient should not do any heavy lifting. It is also likely that the need for a scrotal support device and an ice pack will help with post-surgery pain and swelling.

Once the enlarged veins have been removed, you can expect the pain to go away. You can also resume normal sexual functions. Varicocele is not as serious as testicular cancer, but it deserves the same medical attention to avoid any further discomfort and fertility issues.

AMA
CMS
ACOS
SAGES
AOA
Phlebology
GJV

Grand Junction Vein Center

2373 G Road #280
Grand Junction, Colorado. 81505
On the second floor of the Canyonview Medical Plaza
Tel: 970-242-VEIN (8346)