Page 19 - Scene Magazine 42-02 February 2017
P. 19

For Our Health
Heavy, tired, painful legs? There is more than meets the eye.
BY DR. JOHN KOZIARSKI
One out of five Americans suffer from a disease known as venous insufficiency; a disease that most people have not heard of before, yet this disease is one of the most common reasons for lost work and productivity in the world.
Venous insufficiency is a medical term that means “veins that do not work properly.” Specifically, this is referring to the veins in the legs. This disease can present itself in many ways, which is why most people with the disease do not even know they have it.
A common presentation of venous insufficiency is called varicose veins. Another name is “spider veins.” Some people think that these are different problems – but in reality – they are just two of the different ways that venous insufficiency can present itself.
The most serious symptoms of venous insufficiency are leg ulcers and skin infections, which can be very difficult to treat and heal. Many people with venous insufficiency have very little “visual” findings. Their legs often appear “normal.” There are not a lot of visible varicose veins, nor do they have ulcers or damaged skin. They just have legs that “hurt.” Their legs are heavy, tired, achy, itchy, swollen, or restless. These problems are most common in people that are on their feet a lot – teachers, factory workers, hair stylists, nurses, and retail workers, to name a few.
What is meant by “the veins not working properly?” To answer this question, you must first understand the purpose of the blood vessels in the body. The heart pumps the blood through the arteries out to the organs and tissues. Because the heart is a very strong pump, blood in the arteries are under very high pressure (like a garden hose). The blood goes through the organs and tissues and then goes into the veins, to be taken back to the heart. At this point, the blood has lost most of its pressure. Gravity wants to pull the blood in your legs toward your feet. Valves in the veins keep the blood flowing in the right
direction, up your legs and
back to the heart. If the valves
become weakened, the blood backs up in the veins, and has trouble getting out of the legs.
Venous insufficiency is when the blood does not get out of the legs efficiently, due to the leaking valves. This puts pressure on the nerves, the veins in the skin, and the skin itself. This can result in pain, heaviness, aching, varicose veins, spider veins, skin rashes, skin itching, ulcers, or infections. This can occur in anyone; young or old, obese or thin, men or women, athletes, or couch potatoes. The reasons most often are genetic. Most people with venous insufficiency can recall others in their family with similar problems.
The problem is like a leaking sprinkler line in your lawn. This will cause puddles to form as water pressure builds up in the ground. The puddles are like the varicose veins/spider veins that we see on your skin. They are caused by a leaking vein under the skin. The “water pressure” causes the aching, heaviness, and throbbing. To get rid of the veins and the pressure, we need to seal off the leaking “pipe.”
In general, there are four techniques available to close off the leaky veins. The most common is called thermal ablation. Thermal means heat, ablation means to destroy (referred to as Endovenous Laser Ablation). Another method is called mechanical ablation (referred to as Clarivein Ablation). The two newest techniques to get FDA approval are foam chemo ablation (a chemical closure called Varithena) and cyanoacrylate closure (a form of superglue, referred to as the NEW VenaSealTM procedure).
After closing the leaking veins under the skin, the surface veins are then eliminated by injection (Sclerotherapy) or removal (Microphlebectomy).
Most patients are back to normal activity in 1-4 days. There are pros and cons to each of these techniques.
With the proper treatment,
not only will your legs feel better,
they will
look much better too. It is good to keep in mind that depending on the severity of your treatment needed, it can take several months before your legs are visually where you want them to be, so it is good to plan ahead a bit if you have a specific event, vacation or something you are getting ready for.
Venous diseases have become so prevalent that a whole new medical specialty has been created. This specialty is called phlebology. A phlebologist is someone that has done extra training and passed a written board examination in the treatment on venous diseases.
Family Surgical is one of the few vein centers in the state to offer all the above forms of treatment. They can provide a personalized treatment plan that best suits your needs.
The only way to know if your leg symptoms are due to venous insufficiency is to be evaluated and examined. Family Surgical holds a FREE Vein Clinic on Wednesday afternoons. In addition, there is also one evening Vein Clinic each month. At this FREE Vein Clinic, you will undergo complete testing for venous insufficiency. You will be evaluated by Dr Koziarski, one of the most experienced phlebologists in the country.
Dr Koziarski has been treating venous diseases for nearly 25 years. He has conducted research and presented
his work at national and international conferences.
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