Like many moms, my lifestyle requires me to be on my feet constantly. I noticed my legs were heavy and achy after a long day, but I assumed these symptoms were just something I had to deal with.
As a life-long athlete and Olympic swimmer, I never thought a condition like varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) would affect me. I’ve since learned that these conditions can be caused by pregnancy, spending a lot of time on your feet or even family history.
In fact, my own mother suffered from varicose veins most of her life. She was often on her feet due to her work as a flight attendant and would find herself in pain during long trips. She began to notice her varicose veins when she was pregnant with me and always joked that varicose veins are hereditary; according to my mom, you get them from your kids! It soon hit me that, even though I was active, I was starting to get my mother’s legs.
I went to see a vein specialist who evaluated my legs and used an ultrasound to diagnose me with venous insufficiency, the underlying cause of varicose veins. This was the reason for the achiness and fatigue I felt in my legs.
I learned that, if left untreated, varicose veins can lead to CVI, a disease that gets worse over time. I knew I had two options — continue to live with my uncomfortable symptoms, or pay attention to what my legs were telling me before my condition progressed.
My doctor and I decided the best path for me was a minimally-invasive treatment. The procedure was quick and I was back to my regular activities within a short period of time. Now my legs feel great!
It’s important for people to realize that varicose veins and CVI can happen to anyone and they are more than just a cosmetic issue. But you don’t have to live with the uncomfortable and painful symptoms. There are minimally-invasive treatments available that are covered by many insurance plans. Check with your insurance provider before seeking treatment.
It’s time to Rethink Varicose Veins. I’m glad that I did.
Individual results may vary.
* Summer Sanders, the spokesperson for the Rethink Varicose Veins campaign, has been compensated by Covidien.