Few areas of medicine are surrounded by as many misconceptions, false beliefs, and “fake news” as vein disease. At Comprehensive Integrated Care, because we’re considered the best vein specialists in Sun City, we’ve heard them all. Our patients bring these misconceptions with them when they arrive for their first appointment to discuss varicose vein treatment options with us. Many of these patients are unnecessarily worried or fearful, because the misconceptions have caused them to believe things about varicose vein treatment that aren’t true.
So our Sun City vein specialists often need to spend time clearing up the patients’ misconceptions before we can present actual facts to them. Then we can help them to choose the most effective treatment for their vein problems. In this article, we’ll try to clear up a few of these misconceptions for you, our readers, as well.
Misconception #1: “Vein disease isn’t a ‘real’ disease.”
Most people, when they hear the term “vein disease,” immediately think of varicose veins and spider veins. These are the most common visible symptoms of vein disease. However, it’s important to understand that they are just that – symptoms of a deeper and more serious disease.
Varicose veins and spider veins are the surface symptoms of a deeper problem with your circulation. Your blood is not flowing properly, and these swollen and discolored veins are a sign of that. Anything that impairs your circulation has a negative impact on your overall health. These symptoms are also signs that you should pay attention to them and get a vein health checkup.
Vein disease IS very much a real disease, and fortunately it’s one that we can easily diagnose and effectively treat.
Misconception #2: “My friends say varicose veins and spider veins are primarily cosmetic concerns, so I don’t need to seek treatment.”
Many patients with varicose veins and spider veins fail to seek treatment for them because they are afraid it might make them look vain. They’re afraid that their friends and family will consider the treatments “purely cosmetic.”
This misconception is dangerous because it convinces people with varicose veins that they don’t need treatment. Many don’t even bother to get a vein health checkup to see whether their swollen and discolored veins are signs that more serious vein diseases (such as deep vein thrombosis) are present.
Misconception #3: “I’ve heard that varicose vein treatments involve pain, long recovery times, and possible scarring.”
None of this is true. It might have been, decades ago, in the earlier days of vein disease treatment. But there have been remarkable advances in medical science since then. Modern vein disease diagnosis and treatment doesn’t even remotely resemble stories you might have heard about how it was in the past.
Advances like ultrasound enable modern vein doctors to look beneath the surface of the skin and see the veins themselves. They can actually watch your blood as it flows through the veins, and thus pinpoint any blockages or failures.
When it comes to actually treating vein diseases, we’ve seen even greater advances. Nowadays, to treat varicose veins and spider veins, there is no need for hospitalization and invasive surgery. Instead, you recline comfortably in your doctor’s office while he or she inserts a tiny catheter (smaller than the needle used to give you a flu shot) into one of your veins. The doctor then guides the catheter precisely into place and injects a sealant or uses heat or a tiny laser to close the vein permanently. Your body automatically reroutes blood flow to healthier veins and – voilà – in a very short time the varicose vein is gone.
None of these modern diagnostic or treatment procedures are painful. There is no scarring because there are no large incisions, just a pinprick. None of the treatments require hospitalization or long recovery times, because there is nothing to recover from. Most procedures take less than an hour to complete, after which most patients walk out of the office and return to work or home.
This is the real story of what modern vein disease treatment is like.
Misconception #4: “Are these procedures necessary? Can’t I just ‘live with’ my varicose veins instead of removing them?”
This is one of the most widespread misconceptions about vein disease. Over the years we have seen many patients who say, “Sure, my varicose veins are unattractive, but hey! — that’s just part of growing older. I’ll just cover them up with dark stockings and long pants.”
And, in fact, many cases of varicose veins can be effectively handled with conservative treatment. This treatment includes making changes to one’s diet and exercise patterns, quitting smoking, and wearing support stockings. This treatment option doesn’t eliminate the varicose veins, but it can help to minimize negative symptoms.
Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work for some patients, or only works for a while. Vein disease is often a progressive disorder, meaning that it gets worse if you ignore it. Left untreated, varicose veins can cause chronic leg pain so bad that it makes standing or walking difficult. In some cases, the skin covering the swollen veins becomes brittle and prone to injury. Then, because your circulation is impaired, the wounds don’t heal properly, and can develop into leg ulcers.
So, although it is true that you can try to ignore your varicose veins, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t. Especially when the modern treatment methods used to eliminate them are so fast, painless, and effective.
Misconception #5: “If these procedures improve my appearance, won’t my insurance company consider them ‘cosmetic’ and refuse to pay for them?”
This misconception is based on a lack of information, because the condition that causes varicose veins is very much a real disease. It’s also a disease that can have serious consequences if it is not treated. While it is true that varicose vein removal will improve your appearance, the primary reason that varicose vein experts in Sun City perform it is to improve your overall health.
Untreated varicose veins can become so painful that they can impair your ability to walk and stand, and thus fulfill your work duties. In such cases, there is an excellent chance that your insurance provider will cover your treatment. Insurance companies do this because the treatments are preventative, a way to avoid future health complications that would cost them even more money. The vascular experts at CiC are also experts at helping you communicate and negotiate with your insurance company to make sure you get the treatment you need.
We hope that this article has helped to improve your understanding of vein disease. If you have additional questions, give our vein experts a call at 888-377-7122 or schedule an appointment online. Our talented team of varicose vein specialists is happy to help in any way we can!