Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and distorted, often blue or dark purple in color. They occur when defective valves in the veins allow blood to flow or pool in the wrong direction. Many people consider it as a cosmetic concern, but for others, it is a painful and uncomfortable condition affecting their daily lives. It’s treatment might vary from simple self-care to medication and medical procedures to rectify the vein or remove it.
Symptoms of Varicose veins
Varicose veins might appear with or without pain. The common symptoms include:
- Highly noticeable dark purple or blue colored veins usually on the legs.
- Stiffness, swelling, weightiness, and discomfort around the swollen veins.
- The veins can bleed substantially in extreme cases and ulcers can form.
- Twisted and bulging veins; they are also like cords on your thighs
- A tight or achy sensation in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling in lower leg.
- Worsened discomfort after a long period of sitting or standing
- Itching along with one of your veins or more
- Change in the color of the skin around a Varicose veins
Varicose veins Vs Spider Veins
Varicose veins are similar to spider veins, but they are narrower. Spider veins are mostly located closer to the surface of the skin and are mostly red or blue. Though, most common in the legs, spider veins can also occur on the face. They differ in size and also look like the web of a spider.
Causes of Varicose veins
When veins are not working properly, varicose veins develop. Veins have one-way valves that prevent the backward flow of the blood. When suffering from varicose veins, the blood instead of continuing to your heart, starts to pool in the veins due to failure of these valves. These veins are the farthest from your heart, and gravity makes it more difficult for the blood to flow upwards. As a result, the veins enlarge, swell or twist. Sometimes, varicose veins damage the legs.
Risk factors for varicose veins
With age, the risk of varicose veins increases. Aging in your veins induces wear and tear on the valves that help control the flow of the blood. Ultimately, the wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into the veins where it pools instead of flowing to the heart.
Women have a higher risk of developing the disorder. As female hormones appear to relax vein walls, hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause can be a factor. Your risk of varicose veins can be increased by hormone therapies, such as birth control pills.
The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy. The developing fetus is helped by this move, but it can also cause an unfortunate side effect: swollen veins in your legs. A function can also be played by hormonal shifts during pregnancy.
History of families
If there are varicose veins in other family members, there is a greater risk that you will get it too. Being overweight places extra strain on your veins. Standing for long periods of time, or sitting. When you're in the same place for long stretches, the blood doesn't flow as well.
Complications of varicose veins are rare which can include:
Near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles, painful ulcers can develop on the skin. Typically, a discolored patch on the skin starts before an ulcer emerges. If you think you have developed an ulcer, see your doctor immediately.
Clots of blood
Veins deep inside the legs are sometimes widened. The affected leg can become painful and swell in such cases. Any recurrent leg pain or swelling requires medical attention since a blood clot, a condition medically known as thrombophlebitis, may be indicated.
Veins very close to the skin can burst occasionally. Normally, this causes only mild bleeding. But medical attention is needed for any bleeding.
There's no way to avoid varicose veins entirely, but there are ways to reduce the chance of further formation of varicose veins or having extra ones by improving your circulation and muscle tone. They can also ease your symptoms and help manage the condition.
- Doing workout
- Observing your weight
- Eating a low-salt, high-fiber diet
- The avoidance of high heels or any uncomfortable sandals and tight trousers
- Uplifting your legs
- Regularly modifying your sitting or standing position
Diagnosis of Varicose veins
Varicose veins can be diagnosed by doing a physical exam. Your doctor would visually examin your condition by keeping you in standing and sitting position both. You might also need to explain your symptoms in details.
Test for Varicose Veins
A venous doppler ultrasound of the leg might also be recommended for you. It is a non-invasive test done using a small hand-held device on an out-patient basis. In this test, sound waves are used to check for the blood flow across the valves in the veins. Blood clots can also be detected using this technique.
Treatment for Varicose veins
The treatment for varicose veins includes a range of modalities including self-care, procedures, and surgeries. The procedures are usually done on an out-patient basis which allows you to go back home the same day.
Other treatment methods include:
The following improvements can help prevent the formation or worsening of varicose veins.
- Avoid standing for longer duration of time.
- Lose weight or maintain a weight that is safe.
- To boost circulation, workout.
- Using socks or stockings with compression.
You should take these measures to avoid new varicose veins if you already have them. Whenever you are resting or sleeping, you can also lift your legs to ease the symptoms.
You may be recommended to wear special compression socks or stockings by your doctor. These stockings put enough pressure on your legs so that blood can flow to your heart more easily. They often minimize swelling. Compression levels differ based on the type of stocking you buy. Take suggestion from your doctor before choosing one.
Your doctor may try an invasive procedure if lifestyle changes are not working, or if your varicose veins are causing a lot of pain or harming your overall health. A surgical treatment called ligation and stripping is done using anesthesia. Your surgeon makes cuts on the skin throughout the operation, cuts the varicose vein, and removes it through the incisions. These days updated versions of vein-stripping surgeries have evolved which are less invasive and frequently opted by the doctors.
A broad range of minimally invasive treatment options for varicose veins are currently available. They include:
- Sclerotherapy which uses a chemical injection of liquid or foam to block a larger vein.
- Micro sclerotherapy which uses liquid chemical injection to block smaller veins.
- Laser surgery which uses light energy to block a vein.
- Endovenous ablation therapy which uses heat and radiofrequency waves to block a vein.
- Endoscopic vein surgery with a small light scope inserted through a small incision to obstruct the vein.
You should always speak to your doctor about your care options and the risks. The recommended technique will depend on your symptoms, size, and location of the varicose.
Dos and Don’ts
With every medical condtion, there comes a few medical, dietary and lifestyle guidelines to help you sail through it with ease. Varicose veins requires adherence to some way to living and treatment protocols to manage the symptoms and get the best outcomes from the treatment.
|Exercise regularly||Do heavy exercises|
|Eat a healthy diet||Eat junk foods|
|Elevate legs||Stand or sit in one position for a long time|
|Use Compression stockings||Follow fashion statement|
|Massage your feet||Maintain heavy weight|
Get to know more specific instructions from your consulting doctor based on your unique condition.
Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of specialities working together to bring excellent patient outcomes. Our dermatologists, vascular surgeons, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons can offer the most personalized treatment for varicose veins by choosing the most appropriate path of treatment for this condition.