Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose Veins, also known as varicoses, are twisted, swollen, or enlarged veins that commonly occur at the leg. It will be seen as dark blue or purple running just under the skin.

Varicose veins or spider veins (a milder type of varicose veins) are evident as they are enlarged and overfilled with blood. It appears to be bulging because the vein's valves do not work efficiently, thereby hindering the blood flow. Although it is usually harmless, it can be painful and lead to severe problems.

What causes Varicose Veins?

Veins' valves open to allow the blood to flow upwards to the heart. It closes to stop the blood from flowing backward. Varicose veins occur due to damaged or faulty valves, which allows blood to pool back in the veins, causing vein enlargement.

Excessive pressure on the legs or the abdomen can be a vital cause of varicose veins. Sitting or standing for too long without rest or exercise can increase pressure in the veins and result in valve damage.

Varicose veins can be part of family medical history, and people may see it as a simple cosmetic concern. Some of the risk factors that can lead to varicose are:

  • Standing for a long time

  • Pregnancy

  • Obesity

  • Being over 50 years old

  • Menopause

  • ALeg injury

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Smoking

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Symptoms of varicose veins may differ from person to person. Even being painless, it will appear bulged, twisted, and purple in color. It can also be part of other medical conditions and lead to complications like a blood clot, venous ulcer, or bleeding. Therefore, get medical attention when you come across the following symptoms:

  • Deep blue-purple misshapen veins

  • Aching or heavy legs

  • Itching around the veins

  • Swelling and skin discoloration

  • Shiny skin

  • Swollen ankles

  • Muscle cramping

Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

A physician will perform a physical exam while standing and see for visible signs of varicose veins. They will ask you to describe the pain and discomfort in your legs.

Some of the tests recommended to diagnose varicose veins and assess the blood flow of the veins in the leg include:

  • Venous Doppler Ultrasound

  • Venogram

Treatment for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins treatment would depend on the patient's age, sex, symptoms, and severity of the condition. Aggressive treatments are rare, as physicians recommend home remedies, lifestyle changes, and self-care measures to treat varicose veins.

Some treatment methods apart from surgical procedures include:

  • Exercise to improve circulation

  • Elevation of legs

  • Wearing compression stockings

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Avoid standing for too long

The physician will suggest the following surgery or following procedures only if the self-care methods and compression stockings don't seem adequate:

  • Ligation and stripping

  • Sclerotherapy

  • Laser treatment

  • Radiofrequency ablation

  • Phlebectomy

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