Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that are dark purple or blue in color. Often linked to faulty valves, sufferers will experience pain in the limbs. In some of the worst cases, the veins may go on to rupture or ulcers may form and in these cases, treatment will be required.
The valves within healthy veins open and close to ensure that there is only blood flow in one direction. When these valves no longer work correctly, blood may flow backwards or accumulate in the veins. Varicose veins are most common in the legs and are made worse by standing for long periods of time. Treatment of the bulbous veins is required when the sufferer is in increased amounts of pain or an ulcer has developed.
Common Signs of Varicose Veins:
- Swollen and twisted veins that are purple or blue in color
- Heavy legs, particularly at night or after exercise
- Aching legs and swollen ankles that can lead to moderate discomfort
- Injuries that result in lengthened bleeding in the affected area
- Lipodermatosclerosis – a shrinking of the skin due to the fat under the skin hardening
- Spider veins in the affected area, often accompanied by a discoloration of the skin to a shiny, darkened color
- Legs cramps on standing up
- Dry and itchy skin in the affected area (venous eczema)
- Irregular white patches at the ankles
- Sufferers of varicose veins will interestingly also often suffer from restless leg syndrome
- Ropey and bulging looking veins on legs
Varicose veins do not only occur in the legs, they can also be found in:
- The rectum (as hemorrhoids)
Varicose veins will develop when the valves in the vein become weakened, resulting in a backwards flow or accumulation of blood. When this happens, the veins quickly become swollen and enlarged and will become unsightly as well as often painful.
Risk Factors for Varicose Veins:
- Genetics – varicose veins are often passed down genetically, so check your family history
- Sex – females are more prone to varicose veins
- Obesity – People who are severely overweight have a much higher chance of developing varicose veins, the risk increasing with the severity of the obesity
- Pregnancy – during the gestational period, there is far more pressure exerted on the circulatory system due to an increase in blood in the body. The blood vessels can
- also relax due to a change in hormones during pregnancy, encouraging blood to pool in the veins.
- Age – Varicose veins are far more likely to develop in old age
- Jobs – if you spend a large proportion of your day stood up then the risk of developing varicose veins is increased.
Your Diagnosis with our Vascular Doctors:
A simple examination will determine if varicose veins are present or not, your doctor also asking you some questions about you family health as well as any history of deep vein thrombosis or past injuries to the legs. An ultrasound can detect whether or not the veins are indeed functioning correctly.
Treatment for Varicose Veins at our Office:
Treatment for varicose veins will be necessary if ulcers are present, or if the veins are causing considerable discomfort. Treatment can also be carried out for cosmetic reasons, where veins are prominent and unsightly.
· Cosmetic surgery can be an option where veins are unsightly.
· General circulation can be improved by wearing compression stockings. The stocking encourage a healthy flow of blood, the ankle part being very tight to encourage a flow of blood back up the legs.
· Surgery to remove unsightly varicose veins can be carried out under general anesthetic
· Laser surgery can be used to correct smaller veins and spider veins.
· Veins can be stripped and removed by a process known as ligation. The process involves making two incisions into the leg, one at the groin and one lower down, the vein then being sealed and removed. Complications of ligation include bruising and possible deep vein thrombosis.
· Varicose veins can be removed by sclerotherapy, a chemical being injected into the vein that will close it.
· Veins can be closed up and successfully collapsed by radiofrequency ablation. Carried out under local anesthetic, the vein is heated up and sealed off during the process.
· Laser endovenous laser treatment can be used in successfully treating varicose veins, an ultrasound scan aiding the laser in burning and sealing off the swollen and bulbous vein.
VNUS Procedure for Varicose Veins:
Click HERE to read about the VNUS Closure Procedure.