Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Just What are Varicose Veins?


Submitted by Drs. Bohn, Nielsen, Castillo, Benson, and Wright, The Vein Specialists

We’ve all heard of varicose veins and most likely have seen them on the legs of our mothers, dads, or grandparents. But did you know that not all varicose veins are visible on the leg? More than half of all women and nearly as many men will suffer from venous disease at some time in their life. There are many reasons you may develop varicose veins. The major factor is family history but other factors contribute as well: age, gender, pregnancy, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged standing or sitting, and leg trauma.

If you recall from high school biology, your heart pumps blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen and delivers this blood to the body tissues through the arteries. The blood is collected in the veins and returned to the heart. It is what an engineer would call a closed-loop circulation system. In your veins, you have one-way valves that provide a mechanism to move the blood back to the heart against gravity. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins break or fail and allow blood to pool in the vessels rather than return to the heart. This causes the veins to swell and become chronically inflamed. The result can be leg heaviness or tiredness, pain, aching, discoloration, itching, leg and ankle swelling, and even restless legs.

If you suffer from these symptoms, an exam and diagnostic ultrasound by a qualified vein specialist is needed. State-of-the-art corrective treatments to eliminate varicose veins include endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and sclerotherapy or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. With all of these procedures, there is minimal downtime, so patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately or the next day.

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins but if you watch your weight, exercise regularly, and wear medical grade compression stockings, you will decrease your risk for varicose veins.

Call now to get your legs evaluated by The VEIN Specialists, LLC at 309-862-4000 or visit the website at with locations in Bloomington, Eureka, Streator, and Peru.