This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

U.S. Olympic Gold medalist Summer Sanders knows what it’s like to battle.  Now 20 years after she stood on the podium in Barcelona, the 40 year old is fighting another battle; the battle to raise awareness for varicose veins.  Summer shared her inspiring story with me at the office of Dr. Charles Dietzek in South Jersey.  She’s encouraging more people to pay attention to their bodies.

Summer says her medals 20 years ago represented victory, but today they hold even more meaning.

“With every passing year my olympic medals mean a little bit more to me, and I think that’s because I appreciate everyday a bit more,” Sanders said.

Summer’s life after swimming revolves around being a mother, a wife and the face of varicose veins through the Rethink Varicose Veins Program.  Summer says her mother and grandmother had varicose veins.  The pain she experienced in her legs from the condition was a precursor to a disease called chronic venous insufficiency or CVI.  Doctors say this condition is often hereditary.

Vascular Surgeon Charles Dietzek encourages people to pay more attention to what could be symptoms of venous disease.

“Tiredness, aching, heaviness, they may experience even burning, itching and as things become more advanced discoloration of the skin,” Dietzek said.

He adds that medicine has come a long way and if you’re treating a venous disease, often times, insurance will cover the procedure.  This is different from cosmetic procedures involving spider veins.

Summer says when she underwent her procedure it was non-invasive and only lasted about 45 minutes.

“I was talking with my doctor the entire time.  It was one of those moments you see on TV where he says OK tell me if you feel anything and then the next second we were done,” Sanders said.

By Ashley Johnson @AshleyNJohnson3.

For More Information Check Out Rethink Varicose Veins


Be sure to check us out on Facebook or on Twitter @EyeOpenerPhilly