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Can Varicose Veins Cause High Blood Pressure?

It is estimated that about 35% of the US population has varicose veins – most of them are women over 50 years of age. While heredity often plays a big part in who gets them, other risk factors include obesity, women who’ve had more than one pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle, taking oral contraceptives, aging, leg injury, and smoking. It is largely a cosmetic issue though. People don’t like the bulges and lines on their legs caused by the affected veins. They will often seek vein treatments to alleviate the problem and improve their appearance.

The human body is a very intricate, complex system and when there is a problem in one part, it can affect other parts of the body. Someone with varicose veins may experience other health problems, such as high blood pressure. But are these two conditions related? If so, which one came first?

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

It isn’t always easy to tell if you have varicose veins. If you can’t see them, you may not even know they are there. Some of the more common symptoms of varicose veins (that are detectable) include:

  • A feeling of heaviness in the leg or legs
  • The skin in the affected area begins to change color or even texture
  • Legs ache or burn
  • A rash or sores appear on the leg

On the other hand, hypertension usually has no discernable symptoms. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because many times people don’t know that they are hypertensive until they have an event such as a heart attack or stroke. It is only then, while they are receiving treatment, that they are told they have high blood pressure. So, it is quite possible to have hypertension and not even realize it.

What is the link between varicose veins and high blood pressure?

Some people believe that varicose veins can cause high blood pressure. However, one study was not able to link the two conditions, although there was a distinct link between arterial disease and hypertension. Some patients have expresses concern about a potential link between vein treatments and high blood pressure, but doctors and researchers assure them that no such link exists.

Another study found that varicose veins are often a risk indicator of a more serious condition called arterial disease, but they do not actually cause it. Hypertension can be caused by arterial disease, or the two conditions can share the same or similar triggers.

What is venous hypertension?

Venous hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in a varicose vein gets too high. This can make it more difficult for the blood to be pumped through the damaged veins. This can cause inflammation that affects the walls of the vein as well as the soft tissue that surrounds it. In such cases, there are several types of vein treatments that can help.

At United Vein Centers, your health is everything to us. If you have varicose veins or other conditions, you don’t have to suffer alone. We can help. Give us a call and find out what we can do for you.

Are Spider Veins Hereditary?

You’ve got your mother’s eye color and your dad’s curly hair, but can you also inherit your parents’ spider veins? As it turns out, heredity is indeed a factor. However, whether or not you develop spider veins isn’t necessarily cut and dried. There are several other factors involved that can either raise or lower your risk for developing spider veins.        

The Genetic Factor

Spider veins, sometimes referred to by the medical community as telangiectasias, are a form of vein disease that results in clusters of tiny blood vessels appearing near the surface of the skin. Usually found either on the legs or face, these vessels can be red, blue or even purple and often look like spider webs. Spider veins are closely related to varicose veins, which can also appear near the surface of the skin but are much larger and are often painful in addition to being unsightly. 

According to a scientific review of several international studies on the familial component of varicose veins, there is strong evidence supporting heredity as a risk factor. A study in Japan revealed 42 percent of women diagnosed with varicose veins had a positive family history while a study in France reported that when both parents had varicose veins, patients had a 90 percent chance of developing the condition themselves. What’s more, the scientific review discovered a tangible link between varicose veins and a variety of genetic disorders.       

Other Risk Factors

While there’s little doubt that spider veins can be hereditary, there are also several other causes and risk factors such as:

  • Obesity
  • Injury or trauma to the skin
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal changes and pregnancy
  • Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Age and gender

According to WebMD, the frequency of spider and varicose veins increases with age, with the condition appearing more frequently in women than in men.

Preventing Vein Disease

The good news is even if spider veins or varicose veins run in your family, there are steps you can take to lower your risk and tip the odds in your favor:

  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work the legs such as walking or running. Regular exercise will help strengthen your veins and circulation as well as improve your overall fitness.
  • Avoid either standing or sitting for long periods of time. If standing for long periods is unavoidable, make sure to shift your weight from one leg to the other several times an hour. If you are required to sit for long periods, make sure to get up every half hour to stretch and walk around.

While following these recommendations can certainly help, if you still develop spider veins there are a wide variety of vein treatments available such as laser treatment, which is much less invasive than treatments used to be with a much shorter recovery time. 

Can Spider Veins Be Dangerous?

Spider veins get their name from their web-like appearance near the surface of the skin. They often appear on the facial skin, particularly the nose and cheek areas and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body. These tiny, visible veins alone are typically not harmful, but they can accompany other vein problems like varicose veins—which can be serious without proper vein treatments.

To determine if your spider veins are an isolated, mild problem, it’s a good idea to see your vein doctor for a quick, painless exam. If you also have varicose veins with symptoms of poor circulation, you should definitely have a checkup at your local vein clinic. Being pro-active about vein health can help you prevent serious circulatory problems later on in life.

Potential Causes of Spider Veins

Spider and varicose veins share many of the same causes: 

  • Family history 
  • Sun exposure
  • Injury to the skin
  • Hormonal changes (puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement)
  • Work that keeps you on your feet 
  • Excess body weight
  • Tight clothing that constricts blood vessels 
  • Pressure from poor circulation in the local area or systemically
  • History of blood clots

Vein Symptoms to Watch Out For

If any of these symptoms are bothering you, it’s reason enough to see your vein doctor for a checkup:

  • Visible, tiny spider veins (often red or blue)
  • Varicose veins, blue, red or purple and possibly bulging
  • Itchy, burning sensation in legs
  • Swollen ankles
  • Aching legs
  • Numbness or tingling

Signs of Serious Vein Disease, Requiring Expert Treatment

If you begin to notice the following symptoms and complications of varicose veins–you have more advanced vein disease. Visit your vein clinic to avoid serious health problems:

  • Skin changes: Ankle skin can become hard, shiny discolored.
  • Skin sores: Slow- or non-healing venous ulcers come about from long-term vein problems/backed up blood. Sores may only heal with proper vein treatments.
  • Significant bleeding: Thinning skin covering abnormal veins ruptures easily–and bleeds more than normal.
  • Superficial blood clot: (Thrombophlebitis just beneath the skin.) Look out for a firm, tender vein that feels hard, which may be painful and swollen.
  • DVT: Deep vein thrombosis is a serious, deep blood clot—which can have no noticeable symptoms, but can be deadly if the clot moves into the lung. You might feel pain in your calf (the usual location), inflammation and warm, reddened skin. If you suspect a DVT, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room for immediate care.

Get Expert Laser Treatment and Vein Care in Florida and Colorado

Simple, quick laser treatment is very effective at treating spider and/or small varicose veins — and exams are painless. There’s no reason to hesitate! Have your vein condition evaluated and free yourself of bothersome, painful, and potentially serious symptoms. Contact United Vein Centers today.

Can Varicose Veins Cause Numbness?

Varicose veins are a relatively common condition more likely to occur in older adults, those who are obese and those who are female, particularly those who have had children. The symptoms of varicose veins can vary, but numbness is not unusual. Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins, leg numbness and vein treatments, courtesy of Dr. Gamal Wazni of United Vein Centers in Tampa, Florida.

About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins occur because the tiny flaps of tissue inside the veins – known as valves – no longer work properly. In a healthy vein, the valves open with each heartbeat as blood is pushed against them. During the pause between heartbeats, the valves close, prevent blood from flowing backward. These veins can become incompetent, which means they don’t close all the way or don’t close at all. As a result, blood leaks around them and pools in the vein, causing it to become distorted and swollen.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Many people have no obvious symptoms of varicose veins other than the appearance of the veins themselves. However, large or extensive varicosities may result in swelling of the legs, leg pain or a feeling that the legs are tired or heavy. Your ankles may be swollen, especially at night or if you spend a long time on your feet during the day. Neurological symptoms of varicose veins can include tingling, burning, cramping or numbness in the legs and feet.

Varicose Veins and Numbness

Varicose veins can affect the circulation in your legs and feet. When the tissues or nerves aren’t getting adequate blood flow, it results in oxygen deprivation. This can cause tingling or outright numbness in one or more areas. For example, the posterior tibial nerve runs from the leg to the foot through a narrow band of tissue called the tarsal tunnel. Varicose veins can cause crowding in the tarsal tunnel and compression of the nerve. This results in tingling and numbness of the bottom and side of the foot.

Varicose Vein Treatments

At one time, varicose veins always required surgery. Today, doctors can offer a number of less invasive procedures that are faster, less expensive and easier on the patient. An endovenous laser treatment uses laser therapy to close the vein. In a mini-phlebectomy, the vein is removed through a tiny incision. For sclerotherapy, the doctor injects a solution into the veins that causes them to swell and then collapse, making them stick together. All of these are office procedures and typically take an hour or less. Recovery time is also short; patients can usually return to their normal activities within a day or two at most.

Varicose veins can be more than a cosmetic issue. They can cause pain and swelling or interfere with people’s daily activities. In addition to conservative therapies like special compression stockings, minimally invasive varicose vein treatments offer relief from symptoms such as leg numbness. If you have varicose veins and are interested in treatment, please contact our office to set up an appointment.

Will Spider Veins Go Away Naturally?

Have you ever looked at your spider veins and wish the unsightly lines on your legs or face would just go away?

You may be glad to know that, while there is no cure for spider veins, there are vein treatments that make spider veins go away. In other words, treatment can make the red or blue squiggly lines disappear but one treatment for spider veins cannot prevent them from coming back in other places on your skin.

Spider veins are the result of vein disease that causes permanent damage to the vein. Once a vein is so large that you can see on the surface of your skin, there is too much damage for the body to repair.

Veins are normally elastic; this elasticity helps them push blood through your circulatory system. Like varicose veins, spider veins are bloated, enlarged veins that do a poor job of transporting blood. Instead of moving back towards your heart, blood pools inside the vein and the pressure from the pooled blood causes the vein to dilate and bloat.

You can reduce the appearance of these diseased veins, though, through lifestyle changes and vein treatments offered by your doctor. Lifestyle changes alleviate the pressure blood puts in the inside of the vein in a way that reduces the appearance of the bloated vein.

Put your feet up at night. This allows blood to drain from the veins in your feet and move back towards your heart, so there is less pressure on the inside of the diseased vein.

Lose weight. Excess weight adds pressure to the blood inside of your veins.

Exercise more. Physical activity stimulates blood circulation to reduce pooling inside veins.

Remember – these home remedies can help spider veins fade temporarily, but only a vein doctor can provide vein treatments to remove the appearance of a spider vein.

Vein Doctors Provide Vein Treatments to Reduce the Appearance of Spider Veins

Vein doctors provide a number of vein treatments to make spider veins disappear. Unlike home remedies that simply reduce the dilation of the affected vein so you cannot see it as well, vein treatments permanently close the diseased vein so it does not appear again.

Vein treatments for spider veins include laser treatment and pulsed light therapy. Laser treatment uses the power of light energy to excite the interior of the affected veins. The stimulation of the vein tissue causes the vein to swell and seal closed. The treated vein breaks apart, and your body absorbs the remnants. Blood simply moves through nearby veins as the treated spider vein fades.

Transdermal laser treatment, also known as pulsed light therapy, uses pulses of light to stimulate the closure of the affected vein.

Treatment for one spider vein or group of spider veins will reduce the appearance of the treated veins, but treatment will not prevent the development of spider veins in the future. For more information about spider veins, consult with your vein specialist.

Can Varicose Veins Be Painful?

Varicose veins are extremely common, affecting about 40 million men and women in the U.S. In fact, as you get older, there’s a very good chance you’ll develop these purplish, twisting veins as a result of your lifestyle, underlying health issues, or even your genetics. Varicose veins develop when the tiny valves inside the veins begin to weaken and malfunction, allowing blood to collect behind the veins. Eventually, these areas of the vein swell, causing the purplish, raised appearance characteristic of varicose veins.

Varicose Veins: Symptoms

Varicose veins occur most commonly in your legs, and that unsightly appearance is just one sign or symptom they can cause. Many people who suffer from varicose veins also have sensations of heaviness in their legs, or swelling in their ankles and feet.

One of the most common symptoms associated with varicose veins is pain or aching in and around the affected area, ranging from a dull persistent ache to sharp pains. For many, these symptoms increase with physical activity, making even simple tasks like climbing stairs or walking uncomfortable experiences. As a result, people who have painful varicose veins may be less likely to engage in physical activity, making it more likely they’ll develop worsening vein disease and more severe symptoms.

Treating Painful Varicose Vein Symptoms

You can help reduce the painful symptoms of varicose veins by keeping your legs elevated when possible and staying physically active. But ultimately, the only way to get rid of the pain and other symptoms associated with varicose veins is to have them professionally treated. Fortunately, today there are several vein procedures designed to eliminate varicose veins and the painful symptoms they can cause. While traditional vein stripping is still an option in some cases, newer state-of-the-art vein procedures use minimally-invasive techniques like tiny puncture incisions and laser energy to cause controlled damage inside the veins.

During laser treatment, a small puncture is made in the affected vein and a special, thin tube is inserted. The laser energy is emitted from the tip fo the device, delivering the energy to the walls of the veins. Experienced varicose vein surgeons use laser treatment to irritate and scar the vein walls so they close up, preventing the flow of blood and eliminating painful symptoms. Circulation is naturally redirected to neighboring healthy veins so normal blood flow is restored.

Like most vein treatments, varicose vein laser treatment is performed on an outpatient basis, and there’s virtually no downtime, which means you can get back to your normal routine soon afterward. Once the treatment is complete, you’ll wear a special compression garment to apply gentle pressure to the area, speeding healing and reducing swelling and bruising in the area.

Learn more about state-of-the-art vein treatments.

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from varicose veins, there’s no reason to put up with the aches and pains they can cause. At United Vein Centers, Dr. Gamal Wazni helps patients throughout the greater Tampa area get the care and treatment they need for healthier veins and a better quality of life. Take the next step and learn about your treatment options. Call United Vein Centers today at 800-952-5954 or use our online form and request your personal vein evaluation today.

Are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins the Same?

Are the terms “spider veins” and “varicose veins” interchangeable? Is there a medical difference between them? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

The Similarities Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

First and foremost, varicose veins share the same essential underlying causes as spider veins, and the two conditions often appear together. Both conditions have defined the appearance of diseased veins that show through the skin with dark blue, purple, or red coloration. The underlying pathology behind these conditions are varied, but both occur when venous valves malfunction, making it impossible to pump blood upward toward the heart. This results in a pooling of blood within the veins, which causes both aesthetic and medical concerns.

As blood continues to pool, varicose veins and spider veins may exhibit a number of interrelated symptoms including

  • Pain, itching, throbbing, burning, or cramping or general tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Leg fatigue and/or heaviness
  • Restless legs
  • Changes in skin color and texture

The Differences Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

The principle difference between varicose veins and spider veins lies in their relative size and overall appearance. In short, spider veins are far smaller and spindlier than varicose veins. Varicose veins are often huge, encouraged, rough, and ropy. Spider veins are typically quite fine but often spread out in large networks that resemble the spider webs for which they are named.

Varicose veins and spider veins also tend to differ in their placement. Varicose veins can form deep within muscles and other body tissues. They can also bulge outward from the surface of the skin. Spider veins, by contrast, are typically subcutaneous but rarely develop very far from the skin’s surface. Varicose veins and spider veins also require different vein procedures for effective treatment.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

  • Endovenous Laser Treatment – A minimally invasive technique that closes varicose veins with laser heat introduced beneath the skin using ultrasound-guided catheters.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – A minimally invasive technique that removes varicose veins through a series of tiny incisions.

Your Spider Vein Treatment Options

  • Transdermal Laser Treatment – Like Endovenous Laser Treatment, this technique closes spider veins with laser heat. However, Transdermal Laser Treatment, works through the skin and requires no incisions whatsoever.
  • Sclerotherapy – Rather than utilizing lasers, this technique employs a chemical solution called a sclerosant in order to close diseased veins. Ideal for small and spindly spider veins, Sclerotherapy practitioners use an extremely fine hypodermic needle to inject the sclerosant into the vein through the skin.

For More Information

If you still have questions about the difference between varicose veins and spider veins, contact the professionals at United Vein Centers. Trained professionals are on hand to discuss both your diagnosis and treatment options.

How Should I Choose a Vein Specialist?

Once you decide you’re ready to get treatment for varicose or spider veins, or for other vein disease issues, it’s decision time. You probably have lots of questions about choosing a doctor and we understand it can be confusing. So here’s a bit about how to choose a vein specialist, courtesy of Dr. Gamal Wazni and United Vein Centers in Tampa, Florida.

What’s a Vein Specialist?

First, all vein specialists are physicians. They may be doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO). In either case, the physician has attended medical school and residency. In addition, most complete specialty education that may include surgical training, interventional vein treatments or both. All physicians in the US must have a license to practice. Most are also board-certified. However, there’s really no such thing as a vein specialist; only doctors who care for people with vein disease and vein problems. Instead, there are doctors who practice various medical specialties and treat vein disease as part of their practice.

Vein Treatment and Medical Specialties

Part of the reason the term vein specialist can be confusing is that doctors who offer these services could be cardiologists, radiologists, vascular surgeons or even general practitioners who have completed additional training. Cardiologists are initially trained in internal medicine before completing a fellowship in cardiology; their focus is the heart and vascular system (blood vessels). Radiologists are trained in the use of imaging techniques like X-rays to diagnose and treat disease. Interventional radiologists are most likely to be vein specialists, as they receive additional training in treating vein problems with a combination of imaging techniques and medications or other therapy. Vascular surgeons may perform any of the treatments the other specialists do, but they also perform surgery.

How to Make a Choice

No matter who you choose to treat your vein disease, first cover the basics: training, licensure and board certification. The next question is whether your problem requires surgical or medical care. Your family doctor can help with this one if you aren’t sure. For example, very large, deep varicose veins may require surgery. Next, you want to ask about the doctor’s experience. Acquiring technical skill in vein treatments takes lots of practice. The final issue is how well you and the doctor “fit.” For example, do you feel safe with this doctor? How’s your communication? Are all your questions answered? A personality mismatch will affect your physician-patient relationship and may affect your care, especially if you have communication problems.

We believe you’ll find what you’re looking for at United Vein Centers. Our doctors offer a variety of minimally invasive treatments for spider veins, varicose veins and other vein problems. Dr. Wazni has extensive experience and was one of the first physicians to use lasers in treating varicose veins. His training and many years of experience make him uniquely qualified to deal with any of your vein problems. Please contact us today for answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.




How to Enjoy Florida Weather: Don’t Hide Your Legs!

If you have annoying vein problems, don’t hide. Instead, see your Tampa vascular surgeon. As Florida residents, we all enjoy the privilege of gorgeous, sunny weather nearly all year long. Unfortunately, you can’t truly enjoy living in FL if you feel a need to constantly hide your legs due to untreated varicose veins. Clothing that covers the legs can be very uncomfortable here in Tampa, especially if you want to go outdoors. True, wearing loose clothing and natural fibers helps you stay cool. But why not give yourself true freedom (to wear anything you want) for relaxed comfort in the Tampa sun? Your vascular surgeon can help you do that.

Healthy Legs Look and Feel Terrific

If you’re not affected by “shorts anxiety” point, made above, here is another good reason to seek help from your vascular surgeon: vein health. If you suffer from physical pain or restless, itchy legs due to circulatory issues (like varicose veins or other vascular problems), you could be avoiding healthy exercise. Leg pain may keep you from full enjoyment of the fun (and healthy exercise opportunities) that many Tampa residents enjoy, with access to the beach and the excellent weather. Your vascular surgeon can help you be as active as you’d like, without leg pain.

Vascular Surgeons Offer Quick, Effective Treatment for Vein Problems in Tampa

The term vascular surgeon leads some people to think that we only offer “major surgery” for vein problems. In fact, your vascular surgeon has many options to treat your vein problems–most are advanced treatments that require little discomfort or downtime. The point is, there is no reason to let varicose veins or leg pain hold you back, or restrict your life, any longer.

Learn the Source of Your Leg Pain

Whether or not you have visible, bulging or discolored leg veins, leg pain or other symptoms can mean you may have underlying vein problems. You owe it to yourself to check in at the local vein clinic for a painless exam that allows expert diagnosis from our vein surgeon. Beyond ridding your of unsightly spider veins or varicose veins, we can quickly diagnose any not-so-obvious veins problems lurking beneath the surface. This can help prevent future varicose veins, eliminate leg pain and help protect your health long term. 

Get Expert Treatment for Vein Problems from our Vascular Surgeon in Tampa

If your life is restricted in any way, including social anxiety due to varicose veins or physical leg pain and possible vein disease–we can help. Make an appointment for an exam and assessment of your leg health at our Tampa vein clinic. Tampa vascular surgeon Dr.Wazni and his team use their years of experience, plus advanced diagnostic ultrasound equipment, to diagnose and treat any circulation problems you are experiencing. Contact us today. 

What’s A Duplex Ultrasound?

Unlike Superman, who could use his X-ray vision, modern medicine depends on technology to see inside the human body. One of the tools health professionals use is the duplex ultrasound. You may also hear this test called a Doppler test duplex exam, duplex scan, peripheral vascular ultrasound, ultrasound, ultrasound exam, vascular lab test or vascular ultrasound. Of these, the term peripheral vascular ultrasound probably describes it the best and is the most accurate. Here’s some basic information on the duplex ultrasound from Dr. Gamal Wazni, of United Vein Centers in Tampa, Florida.

What is a Duplex Ultrasound?

Traditional ultrasound was developed as an offshoot of the radar technology used by planes and sea-going vessels. Sound waves are bounced off the structures in the body to create pictures of organs and blood vessels. The duplex ultrasound (duplex means having two parts) adds the ability to bounce sound waves off moving objects, like the blood circulating through the veins. That’s why peripheral vascular ultrasound is such an accurate term; the veins are part of the peripheral vascular system. The result is a recording that allows the test to indicate the speed and force of the blood flow.

What is Duplex Ultrasound Used For?

The ability to look at blood flow in real time is the key to a duplex ultrasound’s value. An ultrasound is an in-office procedure that is not invasive like an arteriogram and there is no risk of bleeding. Ultrasounds can be used to examine most parts of the body and can show what the blood flow looks like in the legs, kidneys, abdomen and other areas. An ultrasound can show if there’s a blood clot or blood vessel disease in a vein. Your vein doctor might recommend a duplex ultrasound to evaluate varicose veins or to see if you have a condition called venous insufficiency.

What’s the Procedure Like?

A duplex ultrasound is performed in the doctor’s office or a vein clinic. It should always be performed by a credentialed technician. In most cases, the test takes about 30 minutes. First the technician spreads a special gel over the area under examination. The gel is used to help transmit the sound waves. The technician slowly moves a wand or hand-piece over the area. The wand transmits the sound waves through the tissue and is connected to a computer that receives the readings and converts them into pictures. As the blood moves through the arteries, it is transmitted through the system as a swishing noise. During the test, you’ll usually be asked to hold still or even hold your breath for a minute. As soon as the test is finished, you can go about your usual activities – there is no recovery time and no side effects or complications.

The technician sends the results directly to your doctor, who can discuss them with you immediately. Depending on the findings, your doctor will make recommendations for future care. If you have questions or want to schedule a vascular disease assessment, please contact us.