It's a medical disorder that many people think doesn't have serious consequences and often goes untreated. More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from varicose veins, that's nearly double the number of people with heart disease. Some people think varicose veins are merely a cosmetic issue and try to cover the unsightly problem without seeking help, but the truth is they can lead to much more serious conditions. Dr. Robert Coronado runs his practice out of Redding and he is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the issue.
"It (varicose veins) can lead to the skin breaking down, forming ulcers, needing months to years to basically heal the wound. In many cases, as many as 400,000 people in the United States a year can actually lose a leg," he says.
Of the roughly 30 million people that have varicose veins, only about 2 million seek treatment. Varicose veins are often a result of venous insufficiency. When the veins in the leg no longer function properly, it causes blood to pool in the leg or flow backwards, creating extremely high pressure which can lead to pain and swelling. The condition is common in people that spend a lot of time on their feet, like single mom and Redding Bank of Commerce employee Tai Gonzalez.
"It got to the point where the pain in my leg couldn't be relieved unless I was stretching my leg. So at that point I came in to get some more information and find out if there was anything that could be done," she says.
In the past, treating venous insufficiency required surgery and multiple incisions. Now, patients can opt for a less invasive procedure that takes practically no time at all.
"We can now fix most of these patients with a 20-30 minute procedure in the office. The patient walks in, and walks out with no down time," says Coronado.
Tai, who is an avid runner and cheerleading coach, is always on the go and says she got her life back when she decided to treat the problem.
"If you can do something that simple to improve the quality of your life, I don't know why you wouldn't," she says.