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How Healthy Are Your Veins? - Monday, February 3, 2014

Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the flow of blood through the veins is impaired. It can be caused by a number of disorders of the veins, particularly deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or varicose veins in the legs.

According to local cardiologist, vein disorder expert and member of the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital Medical Staff, Dr. Carl Fastabend, ten to thirty-five percent of adults have leg veins that do not work properly.

"Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs, says Dr. Fastabend. "If the one-way valves in the leg become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there, causing venous insufficiency.

Symptoms such as swelling, skin discoloration, prominent varicose veins, skin ulcers and aching, burning or throbbing sensations in the legs and feet may occur. Frequent weakness and cramping in the legs may also be present. These problems may make it difficult to sit or stand for a long period of time, making it a challenge to work at home or on the job.

"Many risk factors can contribute to the problem, such as age, family history, varicose veins, being overweight, inactivity, previous injury to the legs and pregnancy, Dr. Fastabend adds.

There are many different treatment options available, depending on the condition that is causing it. From compression stockings to minimally invasive procedures, vein experts like Dr. Fastabend can help patients battle the disorder and regain mobility and quality of life.

"If you are experiencing symptoms or if you are concerned about your vein health, I recommend having your legs examined by a vein expert to find out how well blood is flowing, says Dr. Fastabend. "Chances are the problem will not go away on its own if you wait, and the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of preventing serious complications.

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital will be hosting a free vein screening on Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the hospital, located at 524 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive in Lake Charles. Screening appointments are limited and pre-registration is required. To schedule an appointment, please call (337) 491-7577 or log on to for more information.


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