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Is Your Husband Secretly Suffering from Venous Insufficiency?

Posted: January 12, 2016   |   Revised: October 12, 2016

husbandLadies, do you ever sneak a peek at your husband’s legs and feel just a twinge of envy? Men have it easy, for the most part. No need to shave, moisturize or worry about changes in appearance of those gams. As long as they serve to get them where they’re going, most men are concerned with little else when it comes to legs. After all, most of the time they’re out of public view, right?  It’s difficult to imagine the average man obsessing about a few red spots or bluish spider veins. Even bulging, twisted varicose veins might not be cause for alarm. In fact, they might seem “manly.”

What to Look For

If your man complains, though, about tired legs, or if he seems uncomfortable after a long walk, or when he stands up after a long period of sitting, it might be time to take a good look at your man’s legs. Vein issues are a cosmetic concern, as well as a health issue, for women, but for men who ignore the way their legs look, serious complications often result.

According to Dr. Stephen Daugherty of Vein Center of Tennessee, “One third of our patients are men. More often than not, it’s the women who make their husbands come in to get their problems treated.”

Many times the issues are ignored or dismissed as sports injuries, fatigue, overexertion or just a symptom of age. Dr. Daugherty states, “Men may be more accustomed to “toughing it out” or they may have more reluctance to seek medical care than women. They typically wait until they have more serious pain or skin complications than the women.”

Why Worry about Vein Problems

Veins have a vital function to perform: As part of the circulatory system, they carry deoxygenated blood from tissues throughout the body back to the heart to be rejuvenated so that the arteries have a fresh supply to return to the tissues. Veins are less muscular than arteries and tend to be located closer to the skin surface. Spotting vein issues can be as easy as looking.

Veins are also equipped with “backflow” valves that can malfunction, allowing blood to pool or clot. The veins in the legs have to work against gravity to return blood to the heart. Venous insufficiency is a general term that describes several types of issues. A small network of bluish spider veins is usually no cause for concern, but can be an early warning system. Varicose veins are large, visible bluish purple veins that can be unsightly. Deep vein thrombosis describes veins that are blocked by blood clots; it is a serious condition.

Common symptoms include:

  • Edema: Swelling of the legs or ankles, particularly later in the day
  • Pain when standing that decreases when legs are elevated
  • Leg cramps or itching that is unrelated to dry skin
  • Aching, throbbing or a feeling of heaviness in the legs

Venous insufficiency, by itself, is not normally life threatening, and under a doctor’s care, it can often be treated with simple lifestyle adjustments. There is currently no oral medication available to provide a cure. Left untreated, venous insufficiency will only worsen over time. Common risk factors include smoking, excessive weight and lack of exercise, as well as a genetic predisposition, but they are not the only causes. It is important to realize that ignoring early signs puts an individual at greater risk for surgical intervention.

Available Treatment

Treatment plans vary. Early diagnosis most often leads to recommendations that include elevating the legs when possible, a regular regimen of walking and exercise, minimizing long periods of standing or sitting, and compression therapy that includes wearing special stockings.

When small to medium-size veins are involved, your vein specialist can inject a chemical that causes specific veins to shrink closed and be absorbed by the body. With this form of “sclerotherapy,” the vein pathways are rerouted. Your physician may insert a catheter to seal off a larger vein. The catheter is then removed and the normally functioning veins continue to work as they should.

“Most men are pretty miserable by the time they show up,” according to Dr. Daugherty. He adds that ignoring symptoms is unwise because early treatment prevents infections, skin complications and life-threatening blood-clots. There is never a good reason to tolerate undue pain, or to delay treatment.

What You Can Do

The next time you spend a few moments admiring your loved one’s smile or hair, why not turn your attention to his feet and legs as well. If your man mentions that his legs ache or if you catch him rubbing his ankles on occasion, offer an impromptu leg massage. See for yourself if there is a reason to be concerned about the condition of his leg veins. He most likely will love the attention.

Most importantly, though, use it as a prelude to a discussion about venous insufficiency and, if necessary, offer to schedule a medical consultation.

We don’t care which of you takes the initiative, but if those manly legs are a cause for concern, Please contact a nationally-recognized Vein Specialist at Vein Care Centers of Tennessee today at (931) 551-8991 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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    "Go see the “God sent” Dr. Stephen Daugherty. He is very caring and does a study of your leg problem before he talks about surgery. He is an angel sent to take care of us when we need his care. If he told me today I needed more surgery, I would be ready to go ASAP. I can’t…" -- R.M.

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