Greater than 30 million Americans are affected by venous disease, including varicose veins and the more serious form of the disease called chronic venous insufficiency.
Additionally, the symptoms of venous disease can be not only uncomfortable, but in its most serious form can be debilitating -thus having a severe impact on the patient's well-being.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY (CVI)
If varicose veins are left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency is often the result. Chronic venous insufficiency can cause pain, swelling, restlessness, leg fatigue as well as permanent skin discoloration, skin damage, and in some instances, ulcers. These symptoms worsen over time causing a significant impact on the individual's quality of life and activities of daily living.
Unfortunately, many people think varicose veins are only a problem for those who are concerned about how their legs look. As a healthcare provider, YOU may be the first person to begin this very important patient education.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR CVI?
Chronic venous insufficiency can occur at any time. However, as with many illnesses, age is a risk factor. Other risk factors include: pregnancy, family history, weight, activity levels, and occupation. Those who have jobs that require long periods of sitting or standing are especially at risk.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
As a health care provider, you may be the first person to identify a patient's complaints of leg discomfort as being potentially serious. A referral to a vein specialist who can also perform a simple ultrasound to diagnosis CVI is vital. Additionally, reassuring a patient that there are minimally-invasive treatment options available that are covered by most insurance plans may be all the initiative he or she needs to take the next step to improving their overall health.
HOW IS CVI DIAGNOSED?
The first step in diagnosing CVI is to perform a complete vein history which will identify the patient's genetic and risk factors as well as current health status. This can be done via a patient appointment or via a free vein screening which are periodically scheduled throughout the year. Next, a bilateral duplex ultrasound will be performed in order to determine the exact size of the veins as well as identify if reflux is present. Following the ultrasound Dr. Jenkins will discuss the available treatment options with the patient.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
Involves the insert ion of a thin, flexible catheter into a diseased vein. Using radiofrequency energy the catheter is heated causing a destruction of the wall of the vein in effect dosing the vein. The blood that used to flow through the enlarged diseased vein will then find its way into other, healthier veins.
Involves the injection of a chemical/medication into a diseased vein causing destruction of the endothelium of the vein. The inflammatory process produced by the damage doses the vessel. As with the endovenous ablation, blood will then reroute itself into other healthier veins.
Involves the removal of large ropey varicose veins through very small incisions.