Varicose veins can indicate vascular disease and underlying heart disease. Damaged or weakened valves can manifest varicose veins. In order for the veins in the body to perform their primary function (return blood to the heart), they have to remain healthy enough to work against the forces of gravity. When vein valves have been damaged or become weak, blood can regurgitate or flow backward and pool in the veins causing them to twist or stretch.
People who have varicose veins describe them as being unsightly. However, varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. There are several reasons to have the condition evaluated and treated. Bulging veins can pose a significant risk to your health and your ability to live an active lifestyle.
Varicose veins can lead to serious health issues. Some of these health problems include:
Bleeding: Varicose veins run near the surface of your skin and can bleed easily if you get a cut or bruise on your leg. People with varicose veins may find it hard to stop the bleeding even when injuries are minor, especially in the leg area. If you become injured in the varicose region, you should lie prone, elevate your leg, and exert pressure to the wound.
Blood clots: Blood clots can be a common symptom of varicose veins. Blood clots can cause throbbing, cramping, redness, or other complications, and lead to conditions such as thrombophlebitis, commonly called phlebitis. Another form of blood clotting is known as deep-vein thrombosis. This condition is a symptom of varicose veins, which can cause pain and inflammation in the legs. It can lead to more serious complications like pulmonary embolism.
Varicose eczema: a condition that causes itchy, red, and flaky skin. Treatment of varicose eczema should be long term with a desire to heal the skin, improve blood flow, and treat the symptoms.
Lipodermatosclerosis: This condition causes your skin to become tight and hardened, and sometimes turn a brownish or reddish color. It is a form of panniculitis, which is swelling or inflammation of the fat layer under the skin.
With the risk of potentially serious health problems associated with varicose veins, it is vital to have your physician look at them.
There are several symptoms associated with varicose veins. Some symptoms include:
- Veins that are blue or a deep purple color
- Veins that bulge and or twisted
- Swelling along with muscle cramps, throbbing and burning in the legs
- Heaviness in the legs
- Achy legs
- Pain that appears to worsen after sitting or standing for an extended period of time
- Itching or irritation around the veins
- Discoloration of skin around the veins
There are several risk factors associated with developing varicose veins. Age often plays a significant role in the development of varicose veins, as the chances of development increases as people age. Carrying extra weight can also place a person at higher risk for developing varicose veins, as excess weight applies additional pressure on your legs and veins.
You are at risk if you stand or sit for extended periods of time. If you have a family history of varicose veins are also more prone to develop the condition. It should be noted that women are more susceptible to the development of varicose veins due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menopause, and pre-menstruation.
When seeking treatment for your varicose veins, you will probably be referred to vein clinics, vascular surgeons, and general surgeons for the evaluation. Doctors will often use an ABI (Ankle Brachial Index) to check the pressure of the veins in the legs, or they may use a handheld Doppler to check the flow of blood.
If further evaluation is needed, the doctor may opt to send a patient to have a non-invasive Doppler study done at a hospital. There are several sources you can use to help them find remedies for varicose veins. There are things you can do to help alleviate some of the symptoms. You can wear compression stockings or socks, elevate your legs when they are sitting or sleeping and exercise on a regular basis.
If your varicose veins are causing more serious health problems, then they might need to be treated surgically. Some surgical treatment options include:
Sclerotherapy: A way to destroy some of the varicose veins that you have. A doctor will inject the veins with a solution that is known as sclerosant or sodium tetradecyl sulfate. The solution will scar the veins that will then cause them to collapse. Therefore, the blood inside of the veins will be forced to reroute to the healthier veins. This means that the body will eventually destroy the vein and eventually, over time, the varicose vein will disappear.
Most of the time, this type of procedure will be used to treat the smaller varicose veins that you might have. This is because these veins are closer to the top of the skin. These veins Your doctor can also do a procedure that is known as foam sclerotherapy. This means that the sclerosant will be turned into foam before it is put into the vein. The foam is often used on larger veins that can be deeper under the skin.
Radiofrequency Ablation: This is a procedure that uses radio waves that are transmitted through the wall of the veins. The doctor will have to numb the vein before the procedure and then use an ultrasound to see inside of the leg. Then the doctor will pass a wire catheter inside of the veins so that they can apply the radiofrequency along the wall of the veins. Most of the time, the catheter will run from the top of the knee to the thigh.
The wall of the veins will be heated up so that they will thicken. This will cause them to contract so that they can be reabsorbed inside of the body. It is important to remember that it could take a few months for you to be able to see the results of the procedure.
Endovenous Laser Ablation: This procedure is close to the radiofrequency ablation except that it is going to use laser energy instead of the radiofrequency. A laser fiber will be inserted into a catheter so that it can be moved to the necessary location. This type of laser energy will cause the vessel to close because of the heat. The vein will shrink over time and eventually be absorbed into your body.
A Final Note
Although it is not possible to ultimately ensure a, you won’t develop varicose veins. There are things you can do to help alleviate the likelihood of developing them. And if they do cause you more serious health problems, then seek help and treatment right away.