- Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a result of blood pooling in the veins (usually in the legs and ankles). Blood can pool in the legs when the veins don’t have the ability to push it back up to the lungs and heart. Veins lose their ability to properly move blood when their valves or walls become weak or damaged. In healthy veins, the valves keep the blood flowing efficiently in one direction against the force of gravity up toward the heart. However if these valves stop functioning properly, blood will pool in the legs. Pressure will build and the veins will weaken, become enlarged and twisted.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to acquire varicose or spider veins. If someone in your family has spider or varicose veins, then you are more likely to develop them too. There are a variety of other factors that play a role in the acquisition of varicose and spider veins. They include:
- Being overweight
- Hormone therapy
- Increased age
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
Many of the above conditions place increased pressure on the veins in the legs. Simple changes in lifestyle can play a role in warding off vein diseases. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are a good place to start. Even a small to moderate amount of exercise that targets the legs can reveal large health benefits. By moving your legs, you are flexing your muscles which helps the veins push the blood uphill to the heart. Take a few minutes every hour or two to get up and move.
Identifying Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are visibly enlarged veins that are most often seen on a person’s leg. The veins turn blue or purple and push on the skin, creating a bulge. The condition affects approximately 15% of men and 25% of women in the United States. Although they can appear anywhere along the length of the legs (from the ankle to the groin), they most frequently appear on the inside of the legs or on the rear of the calves. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins however they are smaller and appear closer to the skin.
How Varicose Veins Are Treated?
There are so many treatment options available for varicose veins and all of them are really effective, some of then include:
Sclerotherapy is considered as the best treatment for any kind of vein problem.
Whether you are suffering from spider veins or chronic venous insufficiency, all your veins need is some Sclerotherapy sessions.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment in which a doctor will inject your affected veins with a chemical solution.
This solution will collapse your veins and your blood will start flowing from the other veins.
You may feel a little pain and swelling in the treated area but it should go away.
Lastly, you will need more than one Sclerotherapy session but the results will be promising.
- Compression Therapy
Compression therapy is another great treatment for venous problems in which your doctor will provide you with compression stockings.
These are special type of clothes that are made to apply pressure on different type of body.
These are mostly used after surgeries but can be used for treatment of varicose veins too.
The stockings will apply pressure on your veins and help you reduce the swelling however, if you don’t see any changes then consider it as a time to try other treatments.
- Laser Treatment
Laser treatment can be a good option if you couldn’t get benefit from home remedies or other treatments.
In this surgery there is no needle or incisions are needed since a laser is used that closes all your veins.
Just like Sclerotherapy your blood will start flowing from other veins.
Furthermore, this can be a good option for those patients who want to avoid invasive treatments and experience less pain.
The treatment will be 30 to 60 minutes long, you can go home after the treatment but may need to deal with bruising which will go away in 2 weeks.
What Are Some Habits That May Raise The Risk Of Varicose Veins?
The fundamental bodily mechanics that ensure blood flows up your legs are altered when you wear high heels. Your foot and calf muscles work together to pump blood higher when you walk.
High heels alter your posture and cause your weight to be distributed to your toes and front of your feet. The calf muscles are kept tight, which reduces their capacity to pump blood.
Wearing high heels on occasion lowers your risk and doesn’t alone result in varicose veins. Yet, wearing high heels frequently can lead to chronic vein issues. You can lessen your risk of developing varicose veins by wearing low-heeled shoes for everyday activities.
Having a sedentary way of life
Lack of activity results in a number of issues that increase your risk of varicose veins. One of the most crucial is that, if you’re already overweight, a sedentary lifestyle makes it simpler to put on weight and more difficult to lose it.
Because more weight exerts strain on your leg veins, carrying extra weight is a major risk factor for varicose veins. If you carry extra weight in your stomach, it presses up against your lower pelvis and blocks the flow of blood from your legs to your heart.
Regular exercise strengthens your leg muscles and aids in weight maintenance.
The immediate result of this movement is that blood is forced up your legs. Also, it gives muscles that are stronger over time.
Spending a lot of time standing or sitting
Your leg veins are under too much pressure while you are stationary or seated for an extended period of time. Moreover, blood in your veins has a difficult time ascending your legs when you are not moving. Muscle action is necessary for vein circulation in your legs.
What are the potential complications of untreated varicose veins?
Untreated varicose veins can lead to several potential complications:
- Venous Ulcers: Chronic venous insufficiency caused by untreated varicose veins can lead to the development of painful ulcers, usually around the ankles. These ulcers can be challenging to heal.
- Phlebitis: Untreated varicose veins can increase the risk of superficial thrombophlebitis, causing painful inflammation and blood clots in the affected veins.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Although rare, severe cases of untreated varicose veins may lead to DVT, a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins, potentially causing a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
- Skin Changes: The skin around untreated varicose veins may become discolored, dry, and itchy due to poor blood circulation.
- Bleeding: Veins close to the skin’s surface may become fragile and prone to bleeding, which can be challenging to control.
- Increased Pain and Discomfort: Over time, untreated varicose veins often worsen, leading to increased pain, heaviness, and discomfort in the legs.
- Reduced Quality of Life: The symptoms and appearance of untreated varicose veins can affect a person’s self-esteem and overall quality of life.
Are there any minimally invasive procedures for varicose vein treatment?
Yes, there are several minimally invasive procedures for varicose vein treatment that have become popular alternatives to traditional surgical methods. These include:
- Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT): A laser fiber is inserted into the affected vein, emitting laser energy to close and seal the vein.
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): Radiofrequency energy is used to heat and close off the problematic vein.
- Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected into the vein, causing it to collapse and eventually be absorbed by the body.
- Mechanochemical Ablation (MOCA): A combination of mechanical and chemical methods is used to close the vein.
- Clarivein: A specialized catheter is used to deliver a rotating wire and sclerosant into the vein.