Varicose veins are often thought of as a curse of old age. New studies show that as much as 50-percent of substance abusers are also prone to get the unsightly — and sometimes deadly affliction.
Old treatment methods were painful and required days of recovery from surgery. Now victims can get successfully treated during their lunch break.
A large part of sobriety depends on rebuilding self-confidence and boosting self-esteem. Getting laser treatment for varicose veins can go a long way in the rebuilding process
Brett Peaks and a lawyer was 28 started to see that his legs were exhausted after exercising. Then Peaks, who is now 35, and manages a dental office in Nashville, noticed the veins in his legs kept getting worse. He was shocked to find that even as a young man, he had varicose veins.
Peaks' story is a myth buster when it comes to varicose veins; they don't only attack little old women. Varicose veins can also trigger medical difficulties. Treatment, unlike the past, is painless and easy.
Over 35 million Americans experience varicose veins. Twenty-five percent of those are men. As it does for Peaks, the condition runs in families.
The swollen, twisted veins appear just under the skin. Usually occurring on the legs, they can also be found on other body parts. As ugly as they are, varicose veins are not only a superficial quandary. They can be painful and prevent a person's ability to walk; the can also create worse medical issues such as skin sores and blood clots.
The veins are blood vessels that take blood from the body back to the heart. In varicose veins the valves malfunction and blood flow is reversed, enlarging the vein.
Peaks did not go for treatment immediately. Physicians say men are more reluctant to look for medical advice in general — especially if they think it will mean lost work time or time away from recreational activities.
Eventually, Peaks got tired of the pain and asked about a new treatment, recently discussed in a Harvard report. A jacket-tipped laser which closes the vein from the interior. The procedure prevents the rearward flow of blood and doesn't bruise or cause vein.
Physicians use ultrasound to examine the vein and control the procedure. After the site is deadened with a local anesthetic, a tube is guided inside the vein similar to an IV.
Then a petite optic laser is inserted and more numbing fluid placed encompassing the vein. The fluid also helps intercept the laser's heat and decreases it to get a seal.
Varicose veins may also produce restless leg syndrome, but following treatment 80-percent of the signs disappear.
In a worse-case scenario, if left untreated, varicose veins might cause deep vein thrombosis which is often deadly. The veins can get big enough to put tension on the exterior of the skin which breaks down leaving venous ulceration. Without medical care, the skin can't recover accurately, and a minor scrape of the skin can cause the vein to bleed severely; some are so severe that a blood transfusion may be needed.
Patients often avoid the corrective procedure because they remember family members who experienced the old-fashioned stripping method. Back in the day, a patient would be put to sleep with general anesthesia, and a surgeon would make a hole in the leg. Then, the surgeon would take an alloy pole with an acorn-looking object on the end and push it through the vein — ripping the vein outside the leg.
This was particularly vital to Brett, who desired to get back to running with as little pain as possible.
"I didn't have a great deal of pain," said Peaks. "I was back at work in an hour and walking about."
"I'm feeling fine these days," he said just a week following the procedure. "Every day gets greater."