How cost cutting in the NHS has affected those suffering with varicose veins

nhs varicose vein cost cuttingThose suffering from venous disease are finding it more difficult to get referrals for treatment due to cost-cutting measures on the NHS.

Now, referrals are being delayed and only those suffering from severe venous disease are being referred to the NHS. This means many patients are being left without treatment, with many not even realising they need treatment.

So, why are varicose veins being treated as a low priority in the UK? Well, it’s largely because they don’t pose an obvious threat until they become quite severe.

Understanding the varicose vein grading system

GPs typically use a grading system to determine when to refer patients for varicose vein treatment. The grades range from 1-6 and referrals are only given to patients who exceed grade 3.

The main reason behind this is because prior to grade 3, the only reported symptoms of the condition aren’t actually medical. There isn’t any discomfort or pain and the issue appears to be largely cosmetic, with most patients simply disliking how the veins look. So, it’s understandable GPs wouldn’t refer them for treatment.

However, patients who experience grade 3 symptoms often have swelling, discomfort and pain. So, it is these patients who are suffering the most as they are being refused a referral for treatment until grade 4.

Treatment is available, regardless of grade

The main thing patients with venous disease need to know is that they don’t need to go through the NHS for treatment. Treatment is available and in some cases, will be covered by insurance.

At the Cornwall Vein Clinic, we offer one of the largest choices of varicose vein treatments available. We encourage patients to seek treatment as early as possible. Not only will this prevent you from experiencing the more uncomfortable symptoms further down the line, but it will also make the treatment much easier. In early cases, non-invasive procedures can be used, whereas once the condition has progressed past a certain point, surgery may be the only option.

To see which treatment options are available to you, book a consultation today.

Top 5 Varicose Vein Facts

top 5 varicose vein factsVaricose veins may be a very common problem, but they’re still largely misunderstood. Here we’ll look at the top 5 varicose vein facts everyone should know.

1. Varicose veins aren’t the same as spider veins

Although they do look similar varicose veins and spider veins aren’t the same thing. The main difference is the size of the veins. Spider veins are pretty small and they’re also flat. Varicose veins on the other hand are large and often bulge out from the skin.

Of course, this isn’t always the case and some varicose veins don’t actually stick out. It can also be difficult to tell them apart based on colour. While varicose veins do tend to be bluish, they can also be red or purple, the same as spider veins. As it can be difficult to tell them apart, it does help to have them looked over by a vein specialist who will be able to tell you what you’re dealing with.

2. They can be dangerous

By far the biggest misconception about varicose veins is that they are 100% harmless. In most cases, varicose veins aren’t harmful and they are purely a cosmetic concern. However, they can get worse and lead to more serious health issues. Therefore, it is a good idea to have them treated as soon as possible.

3. They are caused by faulty or weak valves

The primary reason varicose veins occur is because the valves in the vein aren’t functioning properly. This could be a genetic issue where the valves are naturally faulty, or they could weaken due to pressure caused by weight gain for example.

4. Some people are more at risk than others

There are several risk factors which increase your chances of developing varicose veins. These include pregnancy, family history, weight gain and gender. Did you know for example, that women tend to develop varicose veins more than men? Age can also play a role as the risk of developing them increases as you get older.

5. There are plenty of treatment options available

While the range of treatment options available these days is impressive, many believe the only option open to them is surgery. This is because in the past, the only option was to have the veins surgically stripped. However, these days you have a range of treatments to choose from, including non-invasive procedures.

The treatment type that’s best for you will depend upon the severity of the varicose veins. Just some of the options include laser treatment, compression stockings and injections.

Overall, these are the top 5 facts about varicose veins everyone should know. It’s important to understand the facts and seek treatment as soon as you can. While varicose veins may not be necessarily harmful, they can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Contact the Cornwall Vein Clinic today to find out more and book a consultation.

Beware of Varicose Veins This Winter

How to prevent your varicose veins from getting worse this winterWinter is often seen as a great time for varicose vein sufferers. The colder days give you the perfect excuse to cover up and hide your unsightly veins. However, did you know that it’s also the time of year which can lead to your varicose veins getting worse? Here we’ll look at how winter living can contribute to varicose veins and what you can do to prevent them getting worse.

How can winter affect your varicose veins?

There are a few things which can trigger varicose veins in the winter months including:

  • Weight gain
  • Little exercise
  • Hot baths and heat exposure

As the weather turns colder, it’s common to turn to hot comfort foods. Most people tend to eat more during the winter months; especially throughout the festive season. It’s not unusual to pile on the pounds over the winter months and it’s the weight gain which can cause a problem for varicose veins. As the legs become heavier, they find it increasingly difficult to pump blood efficiently. This in turn leads to increased discomfort for those already suffering from varicose veins.

While you eat more during the winter months, you tend to do less exercise. This again can make it difficult for the legs to pump blood effectively. So, the veins begin to pool with blood, making them ache and bulge out more than usual.

Finally, as it is a lot colder, you’re going to opt for hot baths and have the heating turned up; especially underfloor heating if you have it. Heat causes the veins to dilate, again making them bigger than normal.

How to prevent your veins getting worse this winter

If you want to prevent your varicose veins getting worse over the cold winter months, ensuring you don’t over indulge too much and keeping active will help. Calf exercises are especially effective. If you want to enjoy a nice bath, make sure it’s warm, rather than hot and try not to overuse the heating.

Of course, the only real way to prevent your varicose veins from getting worse this winter is to seek treatment. There are a lot of treatment options available, so why not contact us today and book a consultation?

Foam sclerotherapy treatment – is it right for you?

Is foam sclerotherapy right for you?With so many different varicose vein treatments available these days, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.

At one time, vein stripping was the only solution; a treatment many people were understandably concerned about. However, these days treating your painful, unsightly veins can be as simple as undergoing a few injections.

Foam sclerotherapy treatment has become a popular option, though it is one of the newer techniques available. So what exactly is it and could it be the best option for you?

Understanding foam sclerotherapy treatment

Sclerotherapy has been used for years to treat small varicose veins. However, it’s only recently that the foam technique has been developed. Unlike traditional sclerotherapy, a solution is mixed with a small amount of air and rapidly mixed to form a foam. This is then injected into the vein.

The solution gets to work by causing an intense spasm within the vein. Over time, the body destroys the vein, making it disappear. Its unique properties make foam sclerotherapy an ideal choice for larger, unsightly veins that cannot be treated with keyhole surgery. It’s carried out with ultrasound control.

Is it effective?

While the technique is pretty new, it has shown promising results so far. However, its long-term effects are pretty much unknown. A study carried out by the Imperial College Londoni, showed that the treatment can help patients return to their normal activities a lot sooner than they could with laser treatment.

So is it right for you? Well, some experts claim this is an ideal treatment for the majority of varicose veins. However, your veins are more likely to come back after sclerotherapy than after other keyhole treatments, so if your veins are suitable for endothermal or mechanico-chemical ablation, you’d likely be better off with one of the other keyhole treatments.

It takes around 2-3 sessions for the treatment to work, but sometimes you may need to have more depending upon the severity of the condition. It’s also worth noting that a third of patients do experience skin staining after the treatment too. While this is usually temporary, it is something you need to be aware of before deciding whether to undergo the treatment.

Overall, foam sclerotherapy has shown excellent success, but you do need to consider the potential disadvantages and risks. Before opting for any treatment, it’s important to know all of your options. Book a consultation with the Cornwall Vein Clinic today and find out which treatment would be most effective for you.