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4 SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 2019                                                                                   THE MORNING CALL
           ■ Health

                                                                                                       o you have bulging or uncomfortable
                                                                                                       veins that have caused you either pain
                                                                                                       or embarrassment?
                                                                                             DVaricose veins can occur in almost
                                                                                              anyone, and affect up to 35 percent of people
                                                                                              in the U.S., according to the Society for Vascular
                                                                                              Surgery. While the veins themselves do not cause
                                                                                              severe medical problems, the presence of these
                                                                                              veins is an indicator of venous insufficiency, which
                                                                                              is a condition that occurs when the veins have
                                                                                              problems sending blood from the legs back to
                                                                                              the heart.
                                                                                                 Joseph M. Laureti, DO, FACC, board-certified
                                                                                              cardiologist at Easton Hospital, specializes in the
                                                                                              treatment of venous insufficiency and works with
                                                                                              his patients to help them understand this common
                                                                                              condition – and how treatment is not considered
                                                                                              or performed with a cosmetic goal in mind.
                                                                                              Rather, it is all about the patients’ symptoms and
                                                                                              preventing advanced skin color changes.

                                                                                              VALVES AND VEINS
                                                                                                 We all have veins and all know what their
                                                                                              job is: they are elastic blood vessels that carry
                                                                                              the blood back to the heart after it’s carried to
                                                                                              all other parts of the body, including through all
                                                                                              of our extremities like the legs, feet, arms and
                                                                                              hands. The veins are normally a low-pressure
                                                                                              system with a series of valves that open and
                                                                                              close, allowing the blood to travel one-way. The
                                                                                              opening and closing of the valves is what allows
                                                                                              the blood to basically travel ‘against gravity.’
                                                                                                 When those valves aren’t working normally,
                                                                                              the blood can begin to go backward, causing it
                                                                                              to back up when the valves don’t close quickly
                                                                                              enough. That backward flow is considered to be
                                                                                              venous insufficiency. When the valves become
                                                                                              weakened or damaged, blood begins to collect
                                                                                              in those veins – causing the vein to become
                                                                                              enlarged and, in some instances, even painful or
                                                                                              leading to fatigue in the legs.
                                                                                                 “The veins are a conduit, per say. They are a
           Shutterstock                                                                       piping to get blood back to your heart. It’s a very
                                                                                              low-pressure system. Blood is coming down from
                                                                                              our heart via our arteries and it’s basically under
                                                                                              pressure and goes around a capillary loop, and on
                                                                                              the way up it’s coming up via the veins,” says Dr.
             ARE YOUR BIG,                                                                    Laureti. “The problem is, it’s relying on that being
                                                                                              pushed up, and it’s fighting gravity. We were all born
                                                                                              with two leaflet valves that direct the flow of blood
             BLUE VEINS                                                                       back to our heart. In an ideal setting, the valves are
                                                                                              supposed to close and prevent the backward flow
                                                                                              of blood. Now, a combination of factors can lead to
             RAISING A                                       Here’s when                      the dysfunction of superficial valves.”
                                                                                                 These factors, according to Dr. Laureti,
                                                             to treat them,
                                                                                              can include family history, obesity, multiple
             RED FLAG? and how                                                                pregnancies, or a history of blood clots in the
                                                                                              deep venous system.
                                                                                                 Venous deficiency is found in what is known
                                                                                              as the superficial veins – the vein that is above
              EASTON HOSPITAL CARDIOLOGIST                                                    our muscle (the ‘deep’ veins are the ones found
                                                                                              below the muscle). Both are directing blood back
              TREATS VARICOSE VEINS WITH                                                      to the heart, but in the deep veins, an issue like a

              ENDOVENOUS OUTPATIENT PROCEDURES                                                blood clot could eventually lead back to the heart.
                                                                                              In the superficial veins, this rarely, if ever, occurs.
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