What are Varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, superficial veins seen over the skin in the legs. Generally the Oxygen-rich, pure blood is brought to the legs from the heart through arteries. After the oxygen and nutrition of the pure blood is utilized in the legs, the pure blood is converted into impure Venous blood. The impure (Venous) blood of the lower limb is pumped back into the heart by the Veins. The pumping of the impure blood from the leg against gravity generally needs significant force. To help the veins push the impure blood against gravity to the heart, the veins are equipped with non-return valves. The Valves are present in the leg veins (In the deep Veins and at the junction of deep-superficial veins). Due to excessive pressure on the non-return, vein valves, they tend to damage-this leads to impairment of venous blood to move up from the leg to heart. Hence the patients with Varicose Vein will have dilated, tortuous and visible superficial veins over the legs.
The non-return valve (One-way Valve) in the veins gets damaged due to prolonged standing, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, genetic predisposition, collagen vascular disease etc.
In the majority of cases, Varicose Vein is not painful. The signs and symptoms of varicose veins includes:
- Visible dilated, tortuous superficial veins over the Leg
- Swelling of the leg- around the ankle
- Dark Pigmentation around the ankle
- Non-healing ulcer around the ankle
- Sudden spurts of painless and profuse bleeding from leg
- Itching of the leg
- Heaviness of the leg during evening and night (Restless leg syndrome)
- Spider Veins
Who are at risk of varicose veins?
Populations between the age of forty to sixty years of age more often suffer varicose veins. Persons who stand for long hours are at risk of having varicose veins. Hence, it is commonly seen in Traffic Police, Nurses, Teachers, Bus conductors, machine workers. Pregnancy is an independent risk for varicose veins. Obese people are prone to develops varicose veins more often.
Early varicose veins are treated by compression stockings and exercises. Once the severity of varicose veins increases, more definitive treatments are recommended. Varicose veins were conventionally treated by surgery till the past 20 years. In last 20 years, many minimally invasive, safe, effective and durable treatments of varicose veins have become available. These includes:
- Endovenous LASER Ablation (EVLA) of Varicose Vein
- Radio frequency Ablation of Varicose Vein
- Microwave Ablation of Varicose Vein
- Sclerotherapy of Branch Veins
You should always talk to your doctor about your treatment options and the risks before choosing a method. The method recommended can depend on your symptoms, size, and location of the varicose vein.
Varicose Vein can be prevented by avoiding prolonged standing, maintaining ideal body weight and regular exercises. During pregnancy, the chances of developing Varicose Veins are high. Hence, it is highly recommended to sleep in the left lateral position to prevent varicose vein during pregnancy. Improving circulation and muscle tone reduces risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. Regular Exercise, Fiber rich diet, maintaining ideal body weight, avoiding prolonged standing are the key to prevent Varicose Vein.
Dr. Sibasankar Dalai
Dr. Sibasankar Dalai
MD, FACP, FINR
Sr. Consultant Neuro Vascular Intervention
Medicover Hospitals, Visakhapatnam
Consultation fee: 350
Timings: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
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