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Varicose Veins? Give Your Legs The Care They Deserve

Varicose veins and spider veins are common disorders affecting up to half of all adults in the U.S. over age 50.

Veins return blood to the heart from throughout the body. “Leg veins have an especially uphill battle as they must overcome the pressures of body weight and the force of gravity to do their job,” says family medicine physician Sandra Arango-Fahmy, D.O. “Normally, one-way stop valves in the veins prevent blood from flowing downward, but if the valves  become weak, blood can leak backward and cause congestion of the vein, causing it to enlarge and leading to varicose or spider veins,” says Dr. Fahmy.

Varicose veins are dark purple or blue in color, protrude from the skin surface and appear twisted like rope. Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on the skin’s surface. Symptoms of varicose veins include pain, fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, swelling, itching and restless legs. While these conditions are not life-threatening, they can lead to painful eczema, inflammation and ulceration, in addition to being unsightly. In some cases, veins become swollen or inflamed, leading to a condition called thrombophlebitis.

Many factors increase a person’s chances of developing varicose or spider veins. “Increasing age, family medical history, obesity, lack of movement, hormonal changes, sun exposure and pregnancy can contribute to the development of vein disorders,” says Dr. Fahmy.

Thanks to highly effective, minimally invasive procedures, varicose and spider veins can usually be treated on an out-patient basis. Jennifer R. Syrek, M.D., a vascular surgeon on staff at Raritan Bay Medical Center, offers diagnostics, evaluation and treatment for varicose and spider veins. “Using stateof- the-art equipment and the latest laser and other techniques, we can determine the site of valve malfunctions and then help patients decide on the best individual treatment options,” she says.

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