Who gets varicose veins and why.
Both women and men can develop vein disorders at any age. It can affect the healthiest of individuals, but there are some conditions that increase your risk of developing varicose veins. They are mostly inherited; if both of your parents had varicose veins, you have a 90% chance of also having them. Other factors that increase your chance of developing vein disorders include being female, hormonal changes, pregnancy, getting older, having a job that requires many hours standing or sitting, being overweight, and a history of leg injuries.
- Increasing age. As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.
- Heredity. Being born with weak vein valves increases your risk. Having family members with vein problems also increases your risk. About half of all people who have varicose veins have a family member who has them too.
- Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone also may contribute to the forming of varicose or spider veins.
- Pregnancy. The hormones during pregnancy greatly influence the leg veins. Varicose veins can even be a symptom of pregnancy and can show up during the first trimester. As pregnancy progresses, there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The growing uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Varicose veins usually improve within 3 months after delivery. More varicose veins and spider veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.
- Obesity. Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins. This can lead to varicose veins.
- Lack of movement. Sitting or standing for a long time may force your veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart. This may be a bigger problem if you sit with your legs bent or crossed.
- Leg Injuries
How long until you can make them go away?
Many patients see same day, immediate results, while others may require multiple visits.
The veins are shut down immediately, but it can take several weeks for the veins to completely break down within the body. The body’s healing process will vary from person to person. No two people’s vein condition are the same. Your doctor can better assess your timeline at your consultation. In general, your legs will feel better before they look better. The cosmetic benefits follow the health benefits of vein treatment.
Do I have to get surgery?
No! We’ve performed thousands of surgery-free treatments.
Surgery is rarely performed these days to eliminate varicose veins. Modern ‘endovenous procedures’ have replaced surgery for most patients and can be done in a doctor’s office. At our facility, we offer multiple non-surgical treatment options so that vein care is individualized and based on what is best for the patient rather than on what is available.
Will my insurance pay for this?
It depends on the type of vein issue you are having.
Most insurance and Medicare will cover varicose vein treatments that are considered “medically necessary care” but not for “cosmetic care”. Medically necessary signs and symptoms include pain, heaviness, swelling, varicose vein rupture, ulceration and others. Underlying venous insufficiency must be documented by ultrasound examination. The ultrasound study to determine the treatment and the physician visits are covered benefits with most insurance types.
In most cases, insurance require that conservative measures have been tried for several weeks. Conservative measures include compression stockings, leg elevation, exercise, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and hot/cold packs. Many insurance types REQUIRE 6 to 12 weeks of wearing medical grade compression stockings prior to being approved for treatment. Over the counter compression is not accepted. You should have your consultation as soon as possible and begin implementing conservative management into your lifestyle. You should begin keeping a daily log documenting that you are using conservative treatments (download attachment).
Treatments that are not covered by insurance because they are considered to be ‘cosmetic services’ include:
- Varicose veins that do not cause any symptoms
- Small, surface varicose veins (without evidence of underlying venous insufficiency on ultrasound)
- Spider veins
Do I have to see a specialist?
Learn more about our difference.
Vein conditions deserve specialized care and you deserve more than a doctor who ‘dabbles’ into vein treatments. At La Jolla Vein Care, our doctors are board-certified, fellowship trained specifically in venous and lymphatic disorders (phlebologists). Our practice is dedicated exclusively to the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of vein disorders. As a result, we are able to offer all diagnostic ultrasound evaluations and a variety of leading edge vein treatments on-site.