Vein Specialties Seeing Younger Clientele with Venous Disorders

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Robin Fleck, M.D., founder and medical director of Vein Specialties specializes in the treatment of varicose veins. Recently, her practice has seen a rise in younger patients with this disorder.

Vein Specialties Seeing Younger Clientele for Vein Treament

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Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that appear on the legs and ankles of middle aged and older adults. In a normal vein, deoxygenated blood gets pumped back to the heart. However, in those patients with venous insufficiency, due to damaged valves, blood pools in the legs. Symptoms of varicose veins include fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, itching, cramping, restlessness, swelling and spider veins. Varicose veins that are not treated can result in leg ulcers or blood clots over time.

Recently, Robin Fleck, M.D., medical director of Prescott Vein Specialties has been seeing a younger clientele for the treatment of venous insufficiency. These patients can present as young as 14 years old and many severe cases have been seen who are in their mid twenties. More severe disease at an earlier age is seen when the genetics are inherited from both parents.

Venous disease affects about half the population, the most common risk factor being heredity. In fact, there is a 70% risk of developing varicose veins if one parent has varicose veins. The risk of varicose veins doubles if both parents have this disorder.

Other risk factors for venous disease include obesity, heavy lifting, pregnancy, occupations that require standing and injuries to the leg. Many of these factors are present in the younger generation such as obesity, sports injuries and retail occupations which are predisposing to the increase in venous insufficiency among this demographic. "We will likely continue to see increased incidence of varicose veins in younger people due to a combination of genetics and obesity," comments Dr. Fleck. "Unfortunately, these patients exhibit more severe disease requiring more procedures to correct the disorder, and an expectation of additional procedures required in the future."

The treatment of varicose veins is a simple, painless, outpatient procedure called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) in which a laser seals the nonfunctioning vein closed with heat. The procedure takes less than twenty minutes and patients can return to work immediately. Most insurance companies pay for this procedure.

Smaller veins including spider veins are treated with sclerotherapy injections. The patient experiences little to no discomfort and sclerotherapy is generally 80-90% effective.

Varicose veins should not be left untreated since they typically progress and can lead to serious conditions such as eczema, skin discoloration, hardening of the skin and eventually leg ulcers. Since the blood flow is sluggish in the legs, swelling typically occurs, damaging the deep veins and increasing the risk for blood clot development.

For more information, visit or call Audrey at 928-778-7000.

Robin Fleck, M.D., is a double board certified dermatologist and internist, recognized by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is founder and medical director of Vein Specialties and Body Oasis Medical Spa. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Dr. Fleck is also the director of Southwest Skin and Cancer Institute.

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Jan Gillum
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