Is It Safe For Diabetics To Have Varicose Vein Treatment?

The number of diabetics seeking varicose vein treatment has reached an all time high. This is because we are seeing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States and around the world. According to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report (most recent), published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than thirty million American adults now have diabetes. This comprises 12.2 percent of the population, and the percentage increases with age, more than doubling after age sixty-four to 25.2 percent.

And… the diabetes statistics get even worse if we drill deeper down into the CDC report! It turns out that another 33.9 percent of all American adults, or 84.1 million people, have what the CDC categorizes as “prediabetes.” It must be understood that the line between what’s considered “diabetes” and “prediabetes” is very thin. If you do the math, what’s most concerning is that more than FORTY-THREE percent of all adult Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Either one puts you at a higher risk, statistically speaking, for needing varicose vein treatment.

Let’s take a quick look at the actual test result numbers used to generate these stats. Diabetics are defined as those having an A1C level of 6.5 percent and greater or a fasting plasma glucose level of 126 mg/dl or greater. Those with prediabetes have an A1C of 5.7 to 6.4 percent or a fasting plasma glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher. Most people who have prediabetes will develop diabetes as they get older. The cut off between prediabetes and diabetes is rather arbitrary so you could easily move these cut off points either way. Note: A1C, a measure of the percentage of glycated hemoglobin (sugar attached) is considered a more accurate diagnostic for type 2 diabetes.

Regarding whether or not it is safe for diabetics to receive varicose vein treatment, let’s first look at conservative methods (non-invasive, non-clinical methods) that many insurance companies require be tried first before they will authorize payment for clinical varicose vein treatment.

1. Graduated Compression Stockings

Wearing graduated compression stockings is one of the most common forms of conservative varicose vein treatment. These are perfectly safe for most diabetics but the patient should be checked for peripheral arterial disease as compression hosiery can be harmful, even life threatening, with this serious diabetic complication. Further, extra care should be taken in the selection of compression stockings to ensure they do not rub against the skin in a way to cause a skin abrasion or ulcer, which can cause major problems for diabetics. Look for seamless wrinkle free stockings, perhaps with extra padding if you are prone to blisters and ulcers.

2. Weight Reduction

There is a strong correlation between diabetes and obesity and both correlate strongly with the need for varicose vein treatment. In fact, the more you weigh, the more likely it will be that you will need varicose vein treatment. This does not mean that thin people and people of average weight never get varicose veins — they do indeed! However, it is also true that being overweight or obese increases your odds for developing varicose veins and for the disease to progress faster. Losing weight is a good thing for both varicose veins and diabetes. Doing so is safe as long as you approach it slow and steadily by eating a well balanced diet, lowering your sugar and carbohydrate intake, and exercising. Note that we did not say to cut all carbs — just to cut back.

3. Leg Elevation

For the diabetic who also has varicose veins, leg elevation is a WIN WIN! In fact, the use of a foam leg elevation device is highly recommended. This type of conservative varicose vein treatment greatly reduces edema (swelling due to accumulated fluids) and gets the lymphatic system functioning better too. This not only reduces the hydrostatic pressure in leg veins, it also flushes out toxins that accumulate in the extra fluid and lymph.

What About EVLT, Sclerotherapy, or Radiofrequency?

Okay, now that we have talked about the safety of conservative varicose vein treatment on diabetics, what about clinical varicose vein treatment like EVLT, sclerotherapy, or radiofrequency?

There’s very good news here. There are no contraindications (major risks) for a diabetic to have minimally invasive varicose vein treatment such as those listed above. Yea! You should of course always let your vein doctor know you have diabetes before your varicose vein treatment. He or she may want to take a few extra precautions to prevent infection, as diabetics do have a tendency to get infected at a bit higher rate as the general population and they may need to have some extra help in fighting an infection if they do get infected.

Schedule an Appointment With Metro Vein Centers

One of the top vein clinics in the country is Metro Vein Centers. They have multiple locations across several states so you should check their website for the one nearest you. They provide a free initial evaluation so you can find out if you have varicose veins and which type(s) of varicose vein treatment would work best if you do. If you have diabetes, you can also mention this when you go in and discuss any concerns you may have. To get the free evaluation, just give the a call. You do not need a referral.

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