Leslee Mighell says that her legs were in constant pain.
“I looked like I had rope in my legs,” describes the 48-year-old school bus driver. “My varicose veins looked twisted and knotted, like they were ready to pop out of my skin.
“They had been noticeable since I was about twenty years old, but the condition had deteriorated from the time of my pregnancies to the point that I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. My legs were tired. They ached all of the time. I couldn’t sleep at night. They just kept getting worse.
“I knew it was time to do something. Then, one day in 2007, I was in my gynecologist’s office lobby and picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News. I read about all the great results other patients had had with Dr. Sharma, so I thought, Why not give it a try?”
Ravi Sharma, MD, who is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, has offices in Homosassa and Trinity. As a cardiovascular surgeon, he serves patients with heart problems as well as those with vein disease.
“I made the call,” recounts Leslee, “and scheduled my first appointment.
“My husband came with me, and I remember how very helpful and nice the office staff was to us. Dr. Sharma had been held up at the hospital and was running a little behind, so the nurses came out and explained everything.
“We felt comfortable enough to wait for him, and I’m sure glad that I did.”
Leslee says that when Dr. Sharma arrived, she found him to be very friendly and informative: “He is just one of those people you can talk with about whatever is on your mind, and he’s extremely professional. He explained everything to us in complete detail.”
About varicose veins
Varicose veins develop when the tiny one-way valves that help move blood back to the heart fail to close properly and allow blood to flow backward in the veins. The blood forms pools that stretch and stress the veins further and may cause a bulging, unsightly appearance on the surface of the skin.
“Nearly half of the US population suffers from vein disease,” observes Dr. Sharma. “Heredity is a strong risk factor, and people who stand in place or sit for long periods of time without walking often complain of varicose veins.
“Patients developing varicosities often complain of an aching, heavy feeling in the legs at the end of the day, and their symptoms may worsen at night with leg cramps or phantom sensations. Because varicose veins are not always visible, many patients do not recognize the onset of vein disease.
“When patients experience leg pain like this, it is important for them to have their veins assessed,” emphasizes the doctor. “Leaving the condition untreated can lead to much more serious difficulties, including leg ulcers, infection, and a breakdown of the skin.”
There is value to having diseased veins evaluated by physicians with specialized training in cardiovascular surgery. When physicians work with leg veins every day, evaluating their health and harvesting them for coronary bypass, they have an intimate knowledge of how these veins function. They understand how important it is to preserve the veins’ health so they are available for grafting if the patient needs a coronary bypass later in life. Because of this deeper understanding, they always select the most conservative treatment option to address a patient’s problem veins.