Answer: This is a question that even your primary care doctor may not be able to answer.
Many of our patients tell me that their doctor advises “if they don’t bother you, don’t bother them.” They tell them that it’s a natural process of aging and cannot be treated. If the patient has edema, they often send their patient to get an ultrasound scan in the
hospital or imaging center. These centers are great for ruling out deep blood clots, but they seldom perform an adequate study to demonstrate venous disease.
The fact is that even the appearance of your legs is not always a reliable guide to the extent of venous disease. Swelling (edema) is one sign that has many causes, but if this problem persists after treating other causes, chances are that the venous or the lymphatic
system is not functioning properly.
Now we understand that venous disease, a chronic condition that gets worse with time, can damage the tiny lymph channels. This causes swelling and is then called veno- lymphatic syndrome. This condition is often confused with lymphedema, which is a
I have seen patients who were misdiagnosed and mistreated for years without improvement. The diagnosis can only be determined by having an ultrasound of the superficial and deep veins of the legs while standing, not lying down. If you have been
treated with compression for leg swelling and never had an ultrasound evaluation, you
may be one of those patients.
Also, the size of varicose veins is not a reliable indicator of the extent of venous disease. Research has shown that even the common symptoms of leg pain, leg cramps, restless legs, and itching occur years before doctors think to order ultrasound testing. The absence of bulging veins does not rule out chronic venous insufficiency. Venous disease is progressive and will never improve without treatment. The slow progress of venous disease and the aging process increases the risk of blood clots and significant skin
changes, leading to ulceration. The eventual outcome without treatment is stasis ulceration (an open sore on the ankle). So why get your varicose veins treated? You will look and feel better as you reduce chances of future complications.