To some, varicose veins may seem like a cosmetic issue, but officials at Tomah Memorial Hospital say the disorder can lead to a serious disease if left untreated. It is why officials at Tomah Memorial are offering a complimentary screening event Tuesday, Nov. 20 to help educate and raise awareness of leg vein issues and the potential health risk.

“If left untreated, varicose veins can progress to chronic venous insufficiency, a serious disease that can cause leg pain, swelling, restlessness, skin damage and ulcers,” said Tomah Memorial vascular surgeon Dr. John W. Robertson III.

Chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins affect 30 million Americans, yet Robertson said reports indicate that less than 10 percent seek treatment.

“As we age, it’s important to take care of our entire body, including our legs, as they play a major role in helping us lead an active, healthy lifestyle,” said Robertson. “People with varicose veins must understand that they don’t have to suffer in silence. We can screen, diagnose and treat their condition head-on.”

With CVI and varicose veins, the valves in the leg veins that direct blood from the legs back toward the heart no longer function properly, causing blood to pool in the legs.

“Although this can occur at any time, increased age is a risk factor,” Robertson said. “Varicose veins and CVI also tend to be more prevalent in women who have been pregnant, people who have a family history of CVI or those whose jobs require them to spend a great deal of time standing.”

Robertson said varicose veins and CVI can be treated.

“The Venefit targeted endovenous therapy at TMH is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency ablation or uniform heat to seal off the problem vein so blood gets routed to another path,” Robertson said. “The unique procedure is proven effective in eliminating varicose veins and improving the appearance of the legs, allowing for a short, comfortable recovery and a quick return to everyday activities.”

He said most vein procedures are covered by insurance unlike other cosmetic type treatments.

Robertson and staff from the hospital’s Specialty Clinic will conduct the screenings confidentially on a one-on-one basis during three sessions scheduled at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. at Tomah Memorial Hospital.

“What we are hoping to do is to first educate and from there to let patients know that we have a procedure here at Tomah Memorial that is cutting edge and that can help them lead their life in a more fruitful fashion,” he said.

Pre-registration is required to attend the screening by calling 608-374-0229. Participants are asked to bring or wear shorts or a skirt. Attendance is limited.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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