Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins. Any superficial vein may also emerge as varicosed, however the veins most usually affected are those in your legs. That’s because standing and on foot upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.
Treatment will have self-care measures or procedures through your doctor to shut or remove veins.
Varicose veins may not reason any pain. Signs you might have varicose veins include:
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
- Veins that are twisted and bulging; they are often like cords on your legs
When painful signs and symptoms and occur, they might include:
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching near one or more of your veins
- Skin discoloration around a varicose vein
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, however they’re smaller. They are observed closer to the skin’s surface and are usually red or blue. This appear on the legs, but can also be seen on the face. They vary in size and look like a spider’s web.
When to see a doctor
Self-care — such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings — can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and might prevent them from getting worse. But if you are concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures have not stopped your situation from getting worse, see your doctor.
Weak or broken valves can lead to varicose veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues, and veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs need to work in opposition to gravity.
Muscle contractions in your legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls makes blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows towards your heart then shut to stop blood from flowing backward. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can waft backward and pool in the vein, making the veins to stretch or twist.
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
- Age. The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging expedite wear and tear on the valves in your veins that regulates blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to permit some blood to flow return into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause might be a factor because female hormones have a tendency to loosen up vein walls. Hormone treatments, such as birth control pills, might also increase your chance of varicose veins.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the extent of blood in your body increases. This change helps the developing fetus, however it also can produce an side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Hormonal changes throughout pregnancy may also play a role.
- Family history. If other family members had varicose veins, there is a higher chance you will too.
- Obesity. Being obese puts more stress on your veins.
- Standing or sitting for long duration of time. Your blood doesn’t flow as properly if you are in the same role for long periods.
Complications of varicose veins, even though rare, can include:
- Ulcers. Painful ulcers may form on the skin close to varicose veins, specially near the ankles. A discolored spot on the skin normally begins before an ulcer forms. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you have developed an ulcer.
- Blood clots. Occasionally, veins deep within the legs gets enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg might become painful and swell. Any chronic pain in the leg or swelling warrants medical attention because it can also indicate a blood clot — a condition known medically as thrombophlebitis.
- Bleeding. Occasionally, veins very close to the pores and skin may also burst. This normally causes only minor bleeding. But any bleeding requires medical attention.
There’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone might reduce your risk of growing varicose veins or getting more ones. The same measures you can take to treat the pain from varicose veins at home can help prevent varicose veins, including:
- Watching your weight
- Eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet
- Avoiding high heels and tight hosiery
- Elevating your legs
- Changing your sitting or standing position regularly
To diagnose varicose veins, your medical doctor will do a physical exam, including looking at your legs while you are standing to take a look at for swelling. Your doctor may additionally also ask you to describe any pain and aching in your legs.
You may need an ultrasound test to see if the valves in your veins are functioning generally or if there is any evidence of a blood clot. In this noninvasive test, a technician runs a small hand held gadget (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your pores and skin over the region of your body being examined. The transducer transmits pics of the veins in your legs to a monitor, so a technician and your doctor can see them.
Fortunately, treatment commonly would not mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. Thanks to invasive procedures, varicose veins can normally be treated on an outpatient basis.
Ask your health practitioner if insurance plan will cowl any of the fee of your treatment. If accomplished for merely beauty reasons, you will likely have to pay for the therapy of varicose veins yourself.
Self-care — such as exercising, loosing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs, and avoiding long durations of standing or sitting — can ease pain and stop varicose veins from getting worse.
Wearing compression stockings all day is often the first approach to try before shifting on to other treatments. They steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles pass blood more efficiently. The quantity of compression varies through type and brand.
You can buy compression stockings at most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Prescription-strength stockings also are available, and are possibly blanketed with the aid of insurance if your varicose veins are causing symptoms.
Additional treatments for more-severe varicose veins
If you do not respond to self-care or compression stockings, or if your condition is more severe, your doctor may also recommend one of these varicose vein treatments:
- In this procedure, your doctor injects small- and medium-sized varicose veins with a solution or foam that scars and closes those veins. In a few weeks, dealt with varicose veins fade.
Although the identical vein might need to be injected more than once, sclerotherapy is effective if done correctly. Sclerotherapy would not require anesthesia and can be carried out in your doctor’s office.
- Foam sclerotherapy of large veins. Injection of a large vein with a foam solution is additionally a possible therapy to shut a vein and seal it.
- Laser treatment. Doctors are using new technology in laser treatments to shut off smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Laser treatment works by way of sending strong bursts of light onto the vein, which makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. No incisions or needles are used.
- Catheter-assisted methods using radiofrequency or laser energy. In one of these treatments, your doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into an enlarged vein and heats the tip of the catheter using radiofrequency or laser energy. As the catheter is pulled out, the heat destroys the vein by causing it to collapse and seal shut. This method is the preferred treatment for large varicose veins.
- High ligation and vein stripping. This method involves tying off a vein before it joins a deep vein and removing the vein via small incisions. This is an outpatient procedure for most people. Removing the vein may not adversely have an effect on circulation in your leg because veins deeper in the leg take care of the larger volumes of blood.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy (fluh-BEK-tuh-me). Your doctor removes smaller varicose veins through a sequence of tiny skin punctures. Only the parts of your leg that are being pricked are numbed in this outpatient procedure. Scarring is generally minimal.
- Endoscopic vein surgery. You would possibly want this operation only in an advanced case involving leg ulcers if other methods fail. Your doctor uses a thin video camera inserted in your leg to visualize and close varicose veins and then removes the veins thru small incisions. This method is performed on an outpatient basis.
- Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy commonly improve besides medical cure within three to 12 months after delivery.
Lifestyle and home remedies
There are some self-care measures you can take to reduce the discomfort that varicose veins can cause. These same measures can help prevent or slow the development of varicose veins, as well. They include:
- Exercise. Get moving. Walking is a wonderful way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Your doctor can advise an appropriate activity level for you.
- Watch your weight and your diet. Shedding extra pounds takes unnecessary pressure off your veins. What you eat can help, too. Follow a low-salt food regimen to prevent swelling caused from water retention.
- Watch what you wear. Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscle mass more, which is better for your veins. Don’t wear tight garments round your waist, legs or groin because these clothes can reduce blood flow.
- Elevate your legs. To enhance the circulation in your legs, take several short breaks daily to raise your legs above the level of your heart. For example, lie down with your legs resting on three or 4 pillows.
- Avoid long durations of sitting or standing. Make a point of changing your position frequently to encourage blood flow.
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