Looking at the calendar, we realized that we’ve got months ahead covered up with long pants, boots and maxi dresses. Seems like now would be the perfect time to get those unsightly veins treated. We checked with our clients, the local experts at CHARLOTTE RADIOLOGY VEIN CENTERS for some useful facts on getting rid of varicose veins. Turns out, there is a lot of mis-information out there about this pesky condition, and varicose veins are not just a cosmetic concern.


Varicose veins do not just happen to older women.

FACT: Millions of men and women suffer from varicose veins. More than 50% of women and men in the United States suffer from some type of vein condition, typically between the ages of 25 and 75.  It is true, however, that as you age, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.


Varicose veins can happen when you are not overweight.

FACT: Vein disease can happen to anyone.  Risk factors include medical and hereditary history, increasing age, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, and  immobility.  Being overweight can put extra pressure on your veins, and pregnancy combines extra weight with a huge increase in the amount of blood in your body.


Varicose veins are both hereditary and non-hereditary.

FACT: Having a family member with vein problems increases your risk ~ about half of all people who have varicose veins have a family member who has them too.  And both sitting and standing for long periods can force your veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart, especially if you sit with your legs bent or crossed.  If you have any of the signs of vein disease, best to get an evaluation.


Even if you don’t have any bulging or broken vessels in your legs, you can still have varicose veins.

FACT: Over 75 million Americans have vein disease, and a large percentage of those are unaware. Not everyone suffers from visible indications of vein disease; other symptoms include sensations in the leg(s) such as aching, burning, cramping, fatigued or heavy legs, and possible skin discoloration and/or open sores.


Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem.

FACT: Many people mistakenly believe their vein problems are just cosmetic, when in fact there is a significant underlying vascular problem that is causing the asymptomatic varicose veins and/or spider veins. We recommend an ultrasound test to evaluate the blood flow within your veins. This simple test can be performed during your initial consultation.


Strenuous exercise can both prevent and contribute to vein disease.

FACT: Exercise is important for vein health, but certain exercises are better than others.  Workouts that cause blood to be pumped back to the heart from the calf muscle and veins in the arch of the foot promote healthy blood circulation and minimize vein disease.  The best “vein health” exercise is walking, a low-impact activity that stretches and strengthens your calf pump, thereby improving your blood flow, as do other low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike or using the elliptical.  

Strenuous weightlifting can put a strain on the venous circulation.  If you do lift weights, be sure to use good lifting techniques: lower weight and high rep routines, exhale when you lift.  You should also incorporate an aerobic activity like  walking or riding a stationary bike immediately afterward to get your blood circulating, and wear compression socks while weightlifting and directly after to assist with moving the blood upward towards the heart.


Surgery is not the only option.

FACT: Surgery is not at all your only option.  There are two minimally invasive procedures, Endovenous Laser Treatment and Sclerotherapy, which offer options for patients who suffer from painful and unsightly varicose veins. These techniques, often done together,  offer a 95% success rate and significant advantages over traditional methods. The Endovenous Laser procedure, from start to finish, takes about an hour and brings very little to no pain. Using ultrasound guidance, your physician will insert a small optic fiber into the varicose vein. Once the laser is activated, it heats the vein; then, as the laser is removed from the vein, it closes the vein. Once the vein is closed, the blood that was circulating through the impaired vein is naturally rerouted to other healthy veins.


Spider veins are not just varicose veins waiting to grow up.

FACT:  While similar, spider veins are not necessarily just baby versions of varicose veins that will get bigger over time and turn into varicose veins.  Veins that “spider” are smaller, and closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins. Spider veins are rarely are a serious health problem, but they can cause uncomfortable feelings in the legs. If there are symptoms from spider veins, most often they will be itching or burning. Less often, spider veins can be a sign of blood backup deeper inside that you can’t see on the skin. If so, you could have the same symptoms and treatment you would have with varicose veins.


The procedure is often covered by insurance.

FACT: Most insurance companies and Medicare recognize vein disease as a valid medical expense and will cover the cost of the treatment after a period of conservative therapy. If you are experiencing any symptoms of vein disease, it is worthwhile to find out whether your insurance will cover the treatment cost.



If you have ugly spider or varicose veins that you would like removed, or are having any of the symptoms below, make an appointment with the specialists at Charlotte Radiology Vein Centers today.

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins



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Charlotte Radiology Vein Centers offer the latest in minimally-invasive procedures for the treatment of varicose and spider veins, venous reflux and other medical conditions. Their interventional radiologists are highly experienced and sub-specialized in vascular care, able to treat your pain right at its source.  For more information or to schedule a consult at their SouthPark or Lake Norman location, call 704.367.7877 or visit CRVeins.com.