Understanding Varicose Veins

Veins are a type of blood vessels responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood from all body parts to the heart for oxygenation, with an exception of umbilical and pulmonary veins, which carry blood rich in oxygen. Veins are closer to the skin and are visible, as they are less muscular compared to arteries.

Varicose Veins or Spider Veins

There are many diseases affecting the veins, but Venous insufficiency is one of the most frequently observed venous system disorder, which is manifested as varicose veins or spider veins. The veins can be seen enlarged, twisted, and completely filled with blood. They mostly appear in dark purple, blue, or red in color, and often painless. The condition is very common across the globe and 25 percent adults have varicose veins. Varicose veins can occur anywhere on the human body but are more prominent to legs and feet due to the pressure of standing and walking upright.

What causes Varicose veins?

Veins contain one-way valves inside them for preventing the backflow of blood due to the effect of gravity. In some cases, the valves fail, and blood starts collecting in the veins as opposed to flowing to the heart, resulting in swelling of the veins. Some of the potential causes of venous insufficiency include pregnancy, old age, menopause, obesity, family history, and long standing time.

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Symptoms to yourself

  • Change in color of your veins – dark purple or blue
  • Veins seems bulged out and swollen, often similar to cords
  • Feeling burning and muscle cramping in your lower legs
  • Pain after standing or sitting for prolonged periods
  • Itching skin all around the swollen veins
  • Discoloration of the skin on the varicose veins
  • Diet – take high fiber diet with low salt content

Diagnosis

Some people suffer from pain and discomfort due to varicose veins, which may result in more-serious circulatory problems. In most cases the varicose veins are visible, and doctors may go for an ultrasound and venogram, which helps doctors to get a better view of your blood flow in such veins. More often, such tests also reveal any blockages and blood clots that may be responsible for the pain and swelling.

Treatment

Treatments for vein diseases, particularly varicose veins are not necessarily immediate and may involve self-care measure as well as surgical treatments. Most doctors prefer not to operate directly, but recommend the use of compression stockings and exercise for a couple of months. In case of extreme pain and discomfort, the following treatment options are available

Endothermal ablation, where the effected veins on your leg are sealed using heat

Sclerotherapy, where doctors apply a special kind of foam to seal off varicose veins

Ligation and Stripping is the most common procedure for treating varicose veins, where the veins are surgically removed

EndoVenous laser treatment (EVLT) is a minimal invasive surgery where the veins are treated using an ultrasound-guided technique

Cryosurgery is a procedure where a probe is passed down to the effected vein and cooled off using Nitrogen Dioxide. The vein is then freezed and retrogradely stripped.

Self-care for preventing vein diseases

Though the occurrence of varicose veins is a common problem, it is always better to prevent them from occurring, as one says ‘Prevention is better than cure.’

  • Avoid sitting and standing for long time periods. Walk and move a little for every 30 minutes.
  • Relax at regular intervals in case you are sitting by raising your legs to ease discomfort
  • Regular exercise would improve blood circulation as well as helps you to stay fit and in good health
  • Avoid wearing high heels or body-tight clothing
  • Wearing compression stockings decreases swelling, improves blood circulation, and offer relief from discomfort.

 

 

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