LiveSmart: Can’t Sleep? It Could Be Your Varicose Veins

[This piece was written by Stephen J. Dempsey, MD, the medical director of Spa Vein Center, a division of Saratoga Cardiology Associates, part of St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical Associates.]

Stephen J. Dempsey, M.D.

If you’ve suffered from restless legs syndrome (RLS), you know the symptoms: Uncomfortable, itchy, pins-and-needles sensations in your legs, causing an almost-irresistible need to move them. If it strikes while you are lying in bed at night, you can likely forget about getting a good night’s sleep.

Restless legs syndrome is known as a movement disorder because the patient has an overwhelming urge to move her legs because of those unpleasant sensations. Moving the legs temporarily relieves the discomfort, but, to keep the symptoms from returning, the patient often maintains a nearly constant movement – pacing the floor or jiggling a foot while awake, or tossing and turning all night while trying to sleep.

Although restless legs syndrome is associated with a variety of disorders, some recent studies have linked its symptoms with underlying varicose veins in the legs. In one study reported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 98 percent of 113 patients reported relief from RLS symptoms when they were treated for varicose veins.

Varicose and venous insufficiency occurs when valves within the veins malfunction. While vein disease might simply be a cosmetic concern for some people, for many others varicose veins cause not only RLS symptoms, but also aching leg pain, cramping, and/or burning legs that interfere with daily life. In some cases, venous insufficiency may lead to severe swelling, skin injury, and even chronic leg ulcers.

If you have concerns about your varicose veins and the impact they may be having on your health, mark your calendar to attend a FREE Varicose Vein Screening at the Spa Vein Center, a division of Saratoga Cardiology Associates, on:

Varicose Vein Screening

Thursday, December 6 or

Monday, December 17

4 to 6 p.m.

Spa Vein Center

6 Care Lane

Saratoga Springs, NY

The screening includes a brief questionnaire and leg exam. Patients should wear shorts to the screening. Please call 518-587-7625 to reserve an appointment or for more information.

Saratoga Cardiology Associates is a practice of St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical Associates (SPHPMA). SPHPMA is one of the Capital Region’s largest multi-specialty physician groups with more than 350 physicians and advanced practitioners, in more than 80 practice locations. For more information, visit

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