Vein Disease and the Elderly

In the United States, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the most common vascular illness, affecting more than 40 million people. CVI is a chronic, potentially life-threatening illness that does not go away on its own. It affects adults over the age of 50 more commonly than those under the age of 50.

What happens to our veins as we grow older?
Unfortunately, as we become older, the valves in our veins that help carry blood upward toward the heart become weaker and eventually collapse. As a result, blood might pool in the legs and flow backward. Venous insufficiency is the medical term for this condition. CVI, if left untreated, can result in:

Leg heaviness and tiredness skin changes such as flaking, itching, and a “leathery” look leg ulcers swelling of the lower legs and ankles achiness and pain leg heaviness and fatigue

Will everyone develop varicose veins as they age?
Varicosities (dilated veins) are not always a symptom of venous illness. Edema (swelling), increased spider veins, and skin darkening may occur in some people. All of these things can happen even if you don’t have varicose veins.

While older adults are more prone to varicose veins and venous stasis ulcers, these illnesses are not a typical part of becoming older. Symptoms do not have to be endured by patients. The discomfort of venous insufficiency can be treated using safe, effective, and minimally intrusive methods. The best part is that addressing the symptoms also slows the disease’s progression.

Is varicose veins a symptom of something else going on in my body that I’m not aware of?
Varicosities, I often say, are the “tip of the iceberg.” They’re one of the earliest CVI symptoms to appear. They can also indicate venous congestion in the pelvis. Pelvic congestion syndrome affects women when the veins in the lower abdomen stop functioning properly. Like varicose veins, the veins in the pelvis can expand and change shape, causing pain or a heavy or painful sensation.

Enlarged veins might be referred to by different terms (such as hemorrhoids) depending on where they are located in the body.

What is the point at which I should seek expert medical help?
At the first indication or symptom of potential venous illness, one should seek medical help. There are occasions when there are no visible signs of varicose veins or swelling, but the patient is in pain, has nocturnal cramps, or has a restless leg. All of these are compelling reasons to seek an evaluation as soon as possible.

What are the options for treating varicose veins?
Varicose veins can be treated with a number of different methods. They differ depending on the vessel’s location and size. Your insurance may also influence the type of treatment that is covered. The most crucial reason, however, is to correctly identify the cause of varicosities so that treatment can be safe and effective.

Is there anything we can do as we get older to prevent varicose veins?
While many risk factors for the development of varicose veins are beyond our control, such as age and family history, there are steps we can take to assist avoid varicose veins, such as:

  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Maintain a regular workout schedule.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Compression stockings are recommended.


Making a Consultation with Dr. Cahn
For additional information, call (910) 363-4949