What You Should Know
Varicose veins are veins that have become swollen and twisted. These type of veins are usually associated with veins in the legs, but they can occur anywhere. Veins have a number of small valves called leaflet valves within them – these are to prevent the blood from flowing backwards away from the heart with the effect of gravity. Usually the leg muscles are used to pump the blood up the veins towards the heart. In certain conditions the small leaflet valves no longer close properly – age can be one of those conditions. When this happens the blood tends to flow in the wrong direction, causing the veins to enlarge, making the problem even worse. The most common veins to suffer from this condition are those near the surface of the legs – it is these veins that are affected more than any others by the effects of gravity, especially when the person affected is in a standing position. Besides looking ugly, varicose veins are often either painful or at the very least itchy, and scratching them can cause ulcers to form. It is not often that complications arise.
There are a number of treatments that may be used for varicose veins. The conventional treatment was surgery, an invasive treatment that involved the actual removal of the veins. Other treatments that do not involve surgery include the affected person wearing elastic stockings, elevating the legs and plenty of exercise. A newer form of treatment is sclerotherapy. This involves the injection of a medicinal foam into the veins to cause them to shrink, and is usually carried out using ultrasound. Other newer treatments include ablation by means of radiofrequency and endoveinous laser treatment, which involves the use of a laser to sculpt the interior of the veins. Most (about 90%) of the blood that flows into the legs is returned by veins deep within the muscles, and it is usually only the superficial veins that are affected. Because of this percentage the superficial veins can usually be treated or even removed without causing any serious harm to the body. Varicose veins should not be confused with reticular veins or spider veins.
- Varicose veins can usually be effectively treated one way or another.
- Varicose veins are extremely unsightly
Varicose veins can be an extremely annoying condition. Not only are they very unsightly, they can also be quite painful or at the very least itchy, and scratching them can cause further complications in the form of ulcers. Most varicose veins can be safely treated by one means or another, but if you suffer from this condition you should consult a physician and possibly arrange for a consultation with a vein specialist or phlebologist.