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Survey Shows People With Varicose Veins Unaware of Health Risks; Most Never Consider Treatment

Sufferers Consider Veins a Cosmetic Issue Despite Experiencing Leg Pain and


CHICAGO, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Varicose veins -- unsightly bulging veins in the legs -- force many embarrassed sufferers to cover up, even on the hottest summer days. While often dismissed as a cosmetic issue, varicose veins actually can develop into serious health problems. According to a new survey, many who suffer from varicose veins aren't aware of this and are not seeking treatment for their condition. The survey, sponsored by Vein Clinics of America, found that one in five people reported having varicose veins, and half (48 percent) also experienced aching pain in the legs. Surprisingly, most people (87 percent) reported they have never sought treatment and nearly half (42 percent) do not consider varicose veins to be a serious health issue.

"Many people don't make the connection between varicose veins and leg discomfort, when in fact, varicose veins may be the outward symptom of an underlying problem that could potentially lead to serious health complications," said Ted King, M.D., Medical Director of the Vein Clinics of America network. "Severe varicose veins put people at risk for a number of conditions, from leg ulcers, bleeding, and phlebitis to blood clots which can be life-threatening, thus treatment can be critical."

Varicose veins, or twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin, are most commonly seen in the legs and ankles. Varicose veins occur when veins have trouble carrying blood from the legs back to the heart due to faulty valves and weakened vein walls. Many people with varicose veins also experience pain, swelling, numbness, and fatigue in the legs. Varicose veins and related leg symptoms can have an impact on daily life, especially for people with occupations requiring long periods of standing or walking.

"Varicose veins and leg pain are thought to be a normal part of aging, but people shouldn't have a compromised lifestyle because of it," said Dr. King. "Today there are safe, effective and minimally invasive treatment options with short recovery time that won't keep people sidelined from their daily routine."

Newer treatments that are less invasive and have largely replaced traditional surgical treatments include:

-- COMPASS(SM) protocol of Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy: An advanced form of sclerotherapy, where a foam solution is directly injected into the varicose vein, causing it to close off. The physician visually monitors the vein and injection on an ultrasound screen, allowing considerable control over the area of the venous system being treated. This procedure is used primarily to treat larger varicose veins. A typical treatment takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes and will consist of multiple injections.

-- Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT): A minimally invasive procedure that uses heat from a guided laser to close varicose veins. A small optic fiber is inserted through a needle into the varicose vein under ultrasound guidance. The laser is then activated and as the optic fiber is removed from the vein it heats and closes the vein. This procedure does not require hospitalization or complicated surgery and typically takes less than an hour.

Survey: Plagues of the Legs

Following are highlights of the survey findings:

-- One in five Americans (20 percent) report that they have varicose veins.

-- Nearly all those surveyed with varicose veins (87 percent) report that they have never sought treatment for their varicose veins.

-- Nearly half of those who have varicose veins (42 percent) reported that varicose veins may be unpleasant but they don't have real health risks.

-- Women were significantly more likely to report that they have varicose veins than men (27 percent vs. 10 percent).

-- Nearly half of those with varicose veins were ages 35 and older (46 percent).

The national StrategyOne Omnibus surveyed 1,006 people 18 and older. The purpose of the survey was to determine the prevalence of varicose veins and related leg pain/discomfort, measure awareness about the severity of varicose veins, and determine how many seek treatment. Interviews were conducted via telephone from June 13-16, 2008 using the field services of Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), which uses methodology including random digit dialing and computer-assisted telephone interviewing.

About Varicose Veins

It is estimated that at least 80 million Americans have varicose veins. Common related symptoms include: pain, aching, fatigue, itching, burning, numbness, tingling, swelling, cramping, restlessness, and throbbing. Varicose veins may enlarge and worsen over time, and if untreated, could lead to serious complications, such as bleeding, leg ulcers, phlebitis, or blood clots.

There are many factors that increase a person's chances of developing varicose veins, including heredity, age, sex, pregnancy, and standing for long periods of time. Varicose veins frequently become apparent after age 40 and worsen with advancing age. The incidence of varicose veins is surprisingly similar between women (50-55%) and men (40-45%). Hormonal changes and pregnancy are probably much of the reason for the difference.

To learn more about varicose veins or available treatment options, please visit or call 866-617-VEIN.

About Vein Clinics of America, Inc.

Established in 1981, Vein Clinics of America, Inc. (VCA) is the largest medical group in the country dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of vein disorders. The physicians of VCA specialize in treating the entire spectrum of vein abnormalities, including varicose veins, spider veins, venous leg ulcers, facial veins, hand veins, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome and Restless Legs Syndrome resulting from venous reflux. VCA is a wholly owned subsidiary of IntegraMed, American, Inc, the leading operator of fertility centers and vein care clinics in the United States. VCA is based in Downers Grove, IL with operations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and Wisconsin and operates, a leading vein care portal.

Contact: Elly Hawrot


SOURCE Vein Clinics of America, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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