Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What are Varicose Veins?


Varicose veins are often described as the lumpy, bumpy veins you may see on your inner thigh or calf. 

“They are veins that aren’t very functional and they typically progress over time,” noted Dr. Lewis Owens, as vascular surgeon with Sentara Martha Jefferson Vascular and Vein Center. 

Dr. Owens says the veins are often hereditary, but can also pop up in people with certain risk factors. 

“Pregnancy is a big thing that can exacerbate the condition,” noted Dr. Owens.  “Additionally, excess weight and jobs that require prolonged periods of standing like nurses and teachers and hairdressers and cooks make people more susceptible.”  
Often times, patients may not feel any early symptoms of varicose veins.  However, over time, symptoms can progress. 

“Heaviness, achiness in your legs and tiredness are the most common,” noted Dr. Owens. 

Some people may choose to leave their veins untreated.  In other situations, compression is used to help manage symptoms.  The last option is to perform a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is used to heat the inner lining of the vein and essentially close it down. 

“This dramatically de-compresses the veins and takes the pressure off the veins and allows the lumpy, bumpy veins to disappear,” said Dr. Owens. 

or more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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