Do you have many obvious veins under the skin? If yes, you may want to know Varicose Veins disease…
Varicose veins are visible, protruding veins that appear just under the skin. Varicose comes from the Latin root varix for “twisted”. They may occur in clusters that look like spider webs, or be large, single veins that are easily observed. They’re most often seen on people’s legs, especially their calves, and are made up of stretched, expanded, or twisted veins in which the flow of blood has been reversed. Varicose veins are the most common disorder in the lower part of the body. They affect 10-20% of the population, and appear between the ages of 30 and 70. They usually get progressively worse.
Varicose veins can’t be cured, but they can be treated with considerable success. Treatment concentrates on relieving pain and managing complications. People who have obvious spidery veins also often seek cosmetic treatment. Wearing lightweight compression hosiery can stop the pain from small, mild varicose veins altogether. Heavier elastic support stockings, knee-length or thigh-length, can also be worn by patients with advanced varicose veins. If these treatments don’t help, injections to “strip” the veins can stop the pain right away and make the veins less visible.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that involves injecting a concentrated saline or chemical solution into the vein. The sclerosing (hardening) solution causes the vein to close up or collapse and become scar tissue. This causes blood to flow only to the non-varicose veins. It can be performed in a doctor’s office (usually a dermatologist or a vein specialist) and is associated with little discomfort. Many veins can be injected at a given time. Several injection sessions are usually required to effectively close a vein and it usually takes a few weeks for healing to occur after each injection. Allergic reactions to sclerotherapy are rare. Scarring can occur and a brown blemishing of the skin may appear. It usually fades but can be permanent. Some superficial varicose veins can be treated with a laser.
Varicose veins can also be treated by surgery. Your doctor may suggest surgery if you have extremely visible varicose veins or changes in your skin, or if you suffer from significant pain and constantly inflamed veins, a condition called recurrent phlebitis (thrombophlebitis). Physicians who recommend extensive surgery may “strip” deeper veins in the legs while removing as many of the swollen twisted varicose veins as possible. A few isolated varicose veins may continue to be bothersome after surgery, but these can usually be treated with injections.
There are some things people can do to help prevent varicose veins. They include:
- exercise – walking is a great way to increase blood flow in the legs
- weight control – shedding excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off veins
in the legs
- wearing compression stockings
- avoiding high heels – low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for veins. Don’t wear tight clothes around your calves or groin. Tight panty-leg girdles, for instance, can limit blood circulation
- elevating legs – take three or four 10- to 15-minute breaks daily to elevate the legs above the level of the heart (e.g., lie down with legs resting on three or four pillows)
- avoiding long periods of sitting or standing – make a point to change position frequently to encourage blood flow