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Over the years, there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation regarding varicose veins. Contrary to what some believe, they are not caused by crossing your legs. They can be caused by pregnancy though. Exercise helps prevent, not cause, them. Their appearance does have a genetic component. They are not the same as spider veins. They do not only affect women; men can develop them too. They are not merely a cosmetic problem; they can indicate serious health issues. And once treated with the new procedures, they do not return. Let’s look at some of these true facts in more detail.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are thick, deep blue and they bulge through the skin. (In comparison, spider veins are thin and can be red, blue or purple.) They can cause a great deal of pain. They are quite common, affecting over 80 million adult Americans. They are caused by weakened or damaged valves in the veins. These valves normally keep blood flowing in only one direction — back to the heart. If the valves are compromised, blood can pool in the lower extremities, causing the veins to bulge and showing the characteristic blue color of oxygen-poor blood. The occur most commonly in the legs, because when blood isn’t being moved effectively back to the heart, it tends to settle low in the body.

Not Just a Cosmetic Problem

Aside from the pain they can cause, varicose veins are not in themselves dangerous. They should nonetheless be checked by a doctor, because they can be a warning sign of long-term health risks such as deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, and poor circulation.

A minimally invasive procedure called vein ablation uses radio frequency to remove varicose veins and spider veins (even though they are not the same thing). A catheter is inserted into the vein through a tiny incision in the skin and is pushed into the end of the vein. As the catheter is retracted, a radio frequency is activated, causing the vein to collapse and die, after which it is absorbed by the body. The procedure usually takes about one hour, entails little pain and does not cause scarring. Some patients experience immediate relief from their symptoms. Veins treated this way can not reappear.

Abella Health provides primary care with a specialization on cardiac and vein care. Dr. Manuel Abella, an Interventional Cardiologist and Vein Specialist who has been practicing in the Miami area for 23 years, specializes in the treatment of varicose veins and is highly experienced in the vein ablation procedure. Contact us for more information or to book an appointment today.