Correspondent: Do you have pain or swelling or restless leg syndrome?Do your legs bother you, in other words? Well, all of this can be easily fixed by treating your varicose veins. Dr. Gamal Wazni from the United Vein Centers is here with lots of good information and advice for us. Dr. Wazni, nice to see you again.
Dr. Wazni: Thank you.
Correspondent: Let’s talk first of all, a lot of people at the end of the day say, “Oh my aching legs, my dogs are killing me.” You know, they have all these complaints about their legs. What is this due to? Is it simply just being on your feet all day?
Dr. Wazni: It is being on your feet all day, but we mistakenly feel that what’s happening is that we’re getting old. We’re just getting weak, we’re getting tired. But what’s happening in most patients is that they have underlying varicose veins, and these veins dilate and start holding blood as you’re standing all day. Kind of like a waterfall, the blood falls into the legs and sits there. Well, as it’s sitting there, the legs start to feel heavy and subsequently tired. Blood is mostly water. Water is heavy. If you pick up a bucket of water, it’s pretty heavy and that’s what your legs are going to feel like at the end of the day.
Correspondent: Similarly, people say, “Oh I have got a Charlie horse problem at night. I get awakened by this cramp in my leg.” What causes that?
Dr. Wazni: Many times patients will feel their potassium is low and they’ll come to the office and say, “Doctor, I need to eat more bananas, or I need a prescription for potassium. My legs are cramping.” Well, a lot of times these patients, when you do further investigations, you’ll find again that they have varicose veins and these veins are holding blood. What actually happens is at night after holding blood in your legs all day and your legs are laying flat, the blood start to come out of the legs. Once it starts to come out of the legs because they’re elevated somewhat, their muscles start to twitch and cramp.
Correspondent: So a lot of times people might go to their normal doctor who won’t necessarily diagnose varicose veins, correct?
Dr. Wazni: Correct.
Correspondent: So they obviously have to come see a specialist?
Dr. Wazni: They’ll have to come see a vein specialist. Now that good news is there are a lot of primary care physicians out there that may be aware of this. And on many occasions we have received the referral of a patient who has had the cramping. They’ve tried … The primary care physician has tried the potassium and then …
Correspondent: Weill the primary care physician, doctor, will they refer a patient to someone like you?
Dr. Wazni: Yes.
Correspondent: They will? Good.
Dr. Wazni: Yes, yes.
Correspondent: Okay, good, because I would think a lot of them say, “Well, you know what? It’s just you’re getting old, like you said.
Dr. Wazni: Well, these days varicose veins and their treatment is becoming more prevalent. It’s known more. So we’re noticing over the last, say, five years that more and more primary care physicians are aware of venous disease.
Correspondent: What happens if you don’t get your varicose veins fixed?
Dr. Wazni: If you don’t get your varicose veins fixed and there’s a picture we can refer to with the first stage being the varicose veins, the bulging veins. And then that will lead to what we call chronic or sustained swelling with the pooling of the blood in your legs. This will then, from all this pooling, you’ll start getting some darkening of the skin and hardening of the skin. And then the last step is ulcerations or break down of the skin …
Correspondent: Well, that’s bad.
Dr. Wazni: … from all of the pressure over the years on the overlying skin and the lack of nutrients to that skin will cause it to break down.
Correspondent: And it’s a simple fix, isn’t it?
Dr. Wazni: It is a simple fix. We use lasers these days. And basically what we are doing is putting a laser fiber in these bad vessels, and we’re zapping them closed with these state of the art medical lasers.
Correspondent: All right, Dr. Wazni, good information. Now there are two United Veins Centers, one in Largo, one in Tampa. Now, for more information on the upcoming screenings just call 1-800-VEIN-DOC or go to the website.
Thank you so much, Dr. Wazni. Always a pleasure to have you.
Dr. Wazni: Thank you.
Correspondent: All right. We’ll be right back.