Varicose veins are a common problem, affecting people of all ages in the United States. But what are varicose veins? Here is some basic information to help you understand this condition, how it may affect your life and what you can do about it.
Varicose Veins Defined
Varicose veins are blood vessels that no longer function normally. They are often enlarged, gnarled and twisted. They appear most often in the legs and the feet, but they may develop in other parts of the body as well. They tend to be blue, red or purple in color, and they are often swollen or even raised above the surface of the skin.
In some cases, varicose veins cause no additional symptoms aside from their appearance. However, many patients experience pain, cramping, throbbing, burning, tingling, restlessness and weakness. Patients with severe varicose veins may also develop ulcerations in the skin near affected veins.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins result when the valves that are responsible for controlling the flow of blood within the veins begin to malfunction. This allows blood to flow backward, which leads to varicose veins. Some of the risk factors that may contribute to the development of varicose veins include obesity, having a family history of varicose veins, pregnancy, being female and aging.
What Can I Do?
If you have symptoms of varicose veins, you can improve your condition with treatment. The first step involves making an appointment at a vein clinic for evaluation. During your appointment, a qualified vein doctor will examine your veins, ask you some questions and establish a diagnosis. He or she will also recommend various treatment options at this time. Some of the treatment options you may consider include:
- Sclerotherapy – A procedure that treats varicose veins with the injection of a special solution.
- Endovenous Laser Therapy – A procedure that treats veins internally with laser energy.
- Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation – A procedure that introduces radiofrequency energy into varicose veins.
- Microphlebectomy – A surgical procedure in which the varicose vein is removed from the body through a small incision.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend conservative treatments before attempting a surgical procedure. Examples of conservative treatment measures include elevation, wearing compression stockings and weight loss.
Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins
If you think that you may be suffering from varicose veins, contact the Vein & Vascular Institute today for assistance.