Edward Coverstone, MD, cardiologist
Summer is approaching, and we’ll all want to head outdoors in our swimsuits and shorts to enjoy the warmer weather. Some people may want to avoid showing their legs because they’re embarrassed by their varicose veins or spider veins. But more importantly, those veins can be signs of a more serious health concern.
Venous disease results from the failure of valves that direct blood in the correct direction (towards your heart). That valve failure causes blood to back up, which builds up pressure on the veins, forcing them to grow or develop branches.
Varicose veins can lead to health problems including leg pain, swelling and cramping along with fatigue, restlessness, itching and burning. When venous disease advances untreated, it can cause extremely painful ulcers, bleeding or blood clots.
Early treatment can end the symptoms and prevent more extensive vein disease and those serious complications. Treatments range from wearing compression stockings to removing the diseased veins. We also can use heat, medication or lasers to seal shut the damaged veins, forcing your blood to use healthier veins to return to your heart. Often, your doctor will chose a combination of these treatments.
Diseased veins are not always obvious. They can be hidden further under your skin. If you’re having any of the symptoms I mentioned, such as leg pain, or you have a family history of varicose veins, you might find it worthwhile to undergo a leg screening to find out if you would benefit from a vein services treatment.
Dr. Ed Coverstone is a cardiologist with St. Anthony’s Heart Specialty Associates and Vein Services, which offers free leg screenings. Call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) to schedule an appointment.
This article originally appeared in the Lemay Community Link.