Also known as varicoses or varicosities, varicose veins occur when your veins become more visible. They get enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood and are often painful. They might have a bluish-purple or red color, and sometimes they also appear swollen and raised from the skin’s surface. This condition is extremely common, especially in women over the age of 50.
Learning About Varicose Veins
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Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins occur very commonly in your legs, feet, and especially after pregnancy in women. When your veins don’t function correctly, that means that the one-way valves in them are preventing blood from flowing backward. Thus your blood begins to collect in the veins instead of flowing ahead causing varicose veins.
Potential causes for varicose veins are:
- Standing for long periods of time
- Pressure on midsection of the body
- Chronic heart valve condition
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
- Highly visible and misshapen veins on the legs;
- Constant or recurring pain;
- Heaviness, and aches in the legs;
- Discoloration, or ulcers around your ankles (extreme cases).
How Would Your Doctor Diagnose Varicose Veins?
Your doctor would examine your legs, feet, or ankles for possible signs of varicose disease. They may ask you to stand, sit, or walk around a bit and may also ask about any pain or symptoms you have. An ultrasound could be done to check your blood flow. An angiogram may also be used to assess your vein disease further.
Preventing and Reducing Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In general, your doctor would be conservative when treating varicose veins and would probably advise you to make changes in your lifestyle and diet.
Those Lifestyle Changes would include:
- Exercising to improve your lower body strength
- Refraining from crossing your legs
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Avoiding excessive sun exposure
- Maintaining a healthy weight
If you already suffer from the problem, you should take these steps to prevent new varicose veins from forming.
Your doctor may also recommend you to wear special socks or compression stockings. These garments place adequate pressure on your legs. This is done in a right way so that the blood can flow more easily upward to your heart. The level of compression varies, but your physician would suggest which brand or tightness to use.
Sclerotherapy is another option to consider if you can’t find any relief with the above method mentioned. Your doctor would inject your veins with a solution that scars and closes the diseased veins. This, in turn, causes the blood to move through healthier veins. You will notice in a few weeks that the treated spider veins have faded and the pain has receded. It is an excellent treatment for varicose veins if done right.
Varicose Veins Surgery
If lifestyle changes or the therapy mentioned above has failed to work, then you need to opt for a more aggressive solution. If you find that these things aren’t working for your pain or your swelling is more severe than ever, your doctor himself might suggest that you try a more invasive procedure. Varicose veins normally get worse over time and in some cases, they may even lead to ulcers, sores, blood clots, or chronic inflammation in your legs. You could opt for a laser surgery which works by sending strong bursts of light through your veins. The targeted veins slowly fade and disappear without any incisions or needles. In some cases, surgical vein removal might also work.
If you need more help or guidance, you can always rely on General Surgeons, Dr. Sara Hartsaw and Dr. Jake Rinker of High Plains Surgical Associates. They have been taking care of the citizens of Gillette, Wyoming since 1994.