Varicose Veins: Fact, Fiction, & Cure

Varicose Veins: Fact, Fiction, & Cure

CREATED Oct 10, 2013

NOVATO, Cali.  (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in the veins. They can be ugly and embarrassing, but they can also cause other problems.

They are big, bulging, and unsightly. For Christy Arntz, varicose veins were also painful.

"Well, they itch. They hurt. Your feet and ankles swell," Christy Arntz told Ivanhoe.

About half of people over 50 will develop varicose veins, but how much do you know about this common problem?

True or false: only women get varicose veins.

False, about 43 percent of men are expected to develop venous disease by the time they reach their sixties. Here's another: you can always see varicose veins.

"You can have this backward flow in the leg, creating enlarged superficial veins that stay under the skin enough so that it doesn't bulge," Joel Erickson, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, Laser Light Treatment Center in Novato, CA, told Ivanhoe.

True or false: varicose veins are hereditary.

That's true. In fact, family history is the biggest risk factor, but does prolonged standing cause varicose veins?

That's also true! However, crossing your legs does not. What about compression stockings? Can they solve the problem?

No, the stockings just relieve symptoms. However, newer procedures can.

Using an ultrasound to guide him, Dr. Joel Erickson inserts a catheter and delivers heat to destroy Christy's faulty vein.

Then, he injects a foam to close it and another liquid to help compress it. So, what do you think, does insurance cover this procedure?

Dr. Erickson said many policies will. Christy's did.

"I said, ‘well, let's get it done,'" Christy said.

Now, she's looking forward to pain free legs.

Dr. Erickson said that every insurance company has guidelines about coverage of vein disease, but normally if a patient has bulging varicose veins—as opposed to just spider veins—along with symptoms such as pain, aching, or leg fatigue, then there is a good chance of treatment coverage.


BREAST CANCER: The most common cancer and second most common cancer leading to death is breast cancer. This typically aggressive cancer usually develops in women who have a family history of breast cancer or who carry the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene. Women over the age of 50 are the most common to develop breast cancer, but some women have developed the cancer between ages 39-49. (Source: www.WebMD.com)

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: Some of the more common symptoms can include:

  • a lump in the breast or armpit
  • pain in breast
  • discharge from nipple
  • changes in size 

Most treatments are done with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy to destroy the cancer and prevent it from returning. (Source: www.WebMD.com)

SUPPORT: With all of the stress and anxiety that breast cancer patients undergo, it is vital that they receive support not only from family and friends, but from outside resources as well. Support groups offer relief to those who are starting to feel the effects from depression and they bring hope to patients. A support group's focus may vary from informational to emotional, but they have the same goal: to lend a hand and make women and men feel comfortable about their current situation. There are 24/7 hotlines and even online support groups where men and women can log into their account and chat with survivors, doctors, and other patients. (Source:www.Komen.org)

BREAST FRIENDS:  Breast Friends is one support group that helps women with breast cancer. It is a nonprofit organization that teaches friends and family specific ways to offer support and help them understand what their loved one is going through.  In 2004, Breast Friends received its first grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.  Komen partnered with Breast Friends in 2005, inviting them to chair their Co-Survivor Initiative in Oregon at Race for the Cure, a position Breast Friends held for over five years.  It was founded in 2000 in Oregon and now has two other affiliates, one in Florida and one in Pennsylvania.  (Source:http://www.breastfriends.org/about-us/)


Joel Erickson, MD
Interventional Cardiologist
Laser Light Treatment Center, Novato CA
(707) 953-3699