Varicose Vein Treatments Information
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are tortuous and enlarged veins close to the skin’s surface. Any vein in the body can become varicose, but the most commonly affected are those in the legs and feet. The reason behind this is that walking and standing upright tends to increase the pressure in the veins in the lower part of the body. Varicose veins are more of a cosmetic concern as they are usually not serious, although they can occasionally cause other problems.
In order for you to better understand how varicose veins develop, let’s take a look at the anatomy and physiology of a vein. First, veins are blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart and unlike arteries they have valves that prevent the backflow of blood. The contraction and relaxation of the muscles in the legs are responsible for “pumping” the veins so they can return blood to the heart against the influence of gravity. This is referred to as the ‘calf muscle pump mechanism’.
When a vein becomes varicose, the leaflets of the valves don’t meet properly - valvular insufficiency - to form a lid that prevents blood from flowing backward. Hence, blood tends to pool or accumulate in the lower extremities, increasing pressure and causing the veins to enlarge. Varicose veins represent engorged branches of the saphenous venous system which is usually affected by a medical condition known as "superficial venous insufficiency of the lower extremities". Hence, having varicose veins is not a disease; rather, it is one of the major symptoms of superficial venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins can be mistaken for blue veins (reticular veins) and spider veins (telangiectasias), which are also partly caused by valvular insufficiency. Varicosities can be distinguished from the other two by the location and size of the veins. Spider veins are a lot thinner and smaller in diameter and they lie closer to the skin but are not usually palpable. Reticular veins are larger and found deeper in the skin’s surface. They are normally purple or blue in color and supply areas of spider veins. Reticular veins are typically 2 mm in diameter and in majority of cases; they don’t protrude on the surface of the skin.
Most patients who have varicose veins seek the help of phlebologists or physicians specializing in vein care. Varicose veins are caused by one or more factors such as damage to the veins, damage to the valves, increased pressure in the veins, venous insufficiency, prolonged standing, obesity and menopause. Age is also a cause because as you grow older, your veins lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. Pregnancy is also a common cause because during this period hormones relax the veins and more blood travels through them. In addition, the added weight of an enlarging uterus places more pressure on the leg veins.
Varicose veins are more common in women and they tend to run in families which mean you may be born with weak walls or defective valves in your veins. Symptoms include the appearance of dark blue, twisted and swollen veins under the skin of the legs; itching over the veins; swelling in the ankles and feet; aching, burning heaviness or pain in the legs. In most cases the symptoms worsen after you stand for long periods of time.
The treatment is usually conservative and does not involve any hospital stay or lengthy recovery. The symptoms can be effectively controlled by regular exercise, weight loss, elevating the legs and wearing compression stockings. If the patient already has superficial thrombophlebitis, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can be used as part of the treatment together with graduated compression garments. In cases when the patient does not respond favorably to conservative treatment or when the condition is already severe, the doctor may recommend a surgical approach. This includes vein stripping, vein ligation, ambulatory phlebectomy, endoscopic vein surgery, laser surgery and sclerotherapy. These treatments for varicose veins are quite effective but one must bear in mind that it is possible for varicose veins to recur.
What Will You Find on VaricoseVeinGuide.com
VaricoseVeinGuide.com is your one-stop resource to varicose veins, its causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment procedures. You will find a wealth of information about conservative and advanced varicose vein surgery techniques; how varicose vein surgery is performed; varicose vein surgery cost as well as important considerations for the surgery.
It’s likely that most of your questions regarding varicose veins will be answered by the materials provided on this site. However, there are some questions that are unique to you, and those can only be answered and addressed by a phlebologist or a varicose vein surgery doctor during a one-on-one consultation.
This site also features an extensive directory of some of the best varicose vein surgeons in the country. Feel free to browse through the site to find one in your area. Once you find a varicose vein surgeon who’s right for you, set up a consultation as soon as possible. Note that varicose vein surgeons vary in terms of training, skills and experience. So, based on the information you’ll learn from this site, develop good questions for your varicose vein surgeon so you’ll have a better understanding of what to do and what to expect.
You will also find it helpful to view the varicose vein before and after photos as these will give you a better idea about the results that can be achieved with varicose vein procedures. Take a moment to view the pictures so you can learn how you can benefit from the surgical and non surgical treatments available today.