Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are those that have expanded and twisted. They commonly occur in the legs and are located right under the skin. Healthy veins contain valves that keep blood flowing in their natural direction. When varicose veins develop, these valves no longer function properly. Once the valves fail to perform efficiently, blood is allowed to flow in the opposite direction and the veins swell. Those of older age or with a family history of varicose veins may be at greater risk for developing this condition. Varicose veins may be more common with greater pressure in the veins caused by being pregnant or overweight. Varicose veins may present a cosmetic problem, but they can also be painful or lead to more serious conditions.
Cosmetic Concerns with Varicose Veins
The superficial placing of varicose veins makes them easily visible under the skin. The veins often have a large and blue appearance, and this can be a cause of insecurity for some people. Other effects include brown or yellow-tinted skin, redness or increased bruising in the area. Scar-like patches may also develop on the lower legs or ankles. These veins may lead to dermatitis and cause itchy rashes in the affected area, and dermatitis may cause bleeding or additional scarring. The altered appearance of the skin may cause some sufferers to avoid wearing shorter clothing, but this may cause further discomfort during warmer temperatures. The best method to avoid the shame of varicose veins is to seek treatment before the problem worsens.
The Consequences of Neglecting Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins can be painful, and this pain can increase when standing due to the increased pressure placed on the leg veins. If varicose veins become severe and/or are left untreated for an extended period, they can lead to more problematic symptoms. It is rare for the consequences of varicose veins to be life threatening, but there are undesirable effects that can occur if they are not treated. Some of the effects of long-standing varicose veins include:
– Skin Thickening
– Swelling of the Ankles, Legs or Feet
– Venous Eczema
– Leg Cramping or Throbbing
– Superficial Blood Clots
Seeking Varicose Vein Treatment
There are numerous treatment options available for varicose veins. These superficial veins only account for around 10 percent of the total blood returned from the legs to the heart, so they can usually be removed without any serious side effects. The traditional method of vein stripping involves removing the affected veins, and has largely been replaced with minimally invasive treatments. These treatment methods involve sealing the most problematic vein so that leakage is no longer a problem. These options include injecting a substance to close off the vein via sclerotherapy, using light energy with laser ablation or radio waves to create heat through endovenous ablation therapy. If varicose veins cause discomfort or embarrassment for you, there are options to help rid you of the problem for good. Seek a consultation with skilled professionals for varicose vein treatment today.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you are not alone. Studies suggest that approximately 40 million people in the United States have variscosities. Half of this group are over the age of 50 and more than 60 percent are older women. Hormone changes throughout life tend to make women more susceptible to this condition. The problem may also develop due to genetics. Additionally, being overweight can also be a contributing factor. Anyone having an occupation that requires standing for extended periods or chronically lifts heavy weight may also be at higher risk.
Varicose Veins Causes and Prevention
While there is nothing that one can do about family history, and changing occupations may be difficult, other lifestyle changes may at least serve to delay varicose vein development. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting sufficient amounts of exercise weekly keep muscles toned and help leg veins perform more efficiently. Physicians at The National Institutes of Health also recommend that if needing to stand or sit for long lengths of time at a job, take breaks by changing positions. Avoid crossing your legs while sitting and elevate legs when sitting or just lounging around at home. Physicians at the Varicose Vein Center in Utah explain that the condition involves venous blood vessels that become engorged, swollen and sometimes twisted because valves within the veins falter. Veins return blood to the heart and lungs for oxygenation. The blood travels upward from the legs through the assistance of contracting leg muscles. Valves in the vessels keep the blood from flowing in reverse. When the valves weaken or completely fail, blood flow stalls and may pool or form dangerous clots. In many cases, the veins merely become visible beneath the skin and appear raised. In more severe instances, patients may experience swelling around the ankles, skin discoloration and sometimes develop open skin wounds called venous ulcers.
Varicose Vein Treatment
While some seek medical intervention to eliminate the appearance, many consult with Utah varicose veins physicians because the condition may cause physical pain or pose a health threat. Depending on the size and location of the problem vein or veins, specialists use different treatments that are designed to block blood flow to a particular vessel, which forces the blood to travel through other veins. A recent study performed by researchers in the United Kingdom determined that thermal ablation therapy, known professionally as endovenous thermal ablation, proved the most effective technique in alleviating the problem.
From the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2012, surgeons researched treatment methods on 800 volunteer subjects diagnosed as having varying degrees of varicose veins. Some underwent ablation treatments, another group received specially designed foam injections and the last group had veins surgically removed. After six months following the procedures, surgeons evaluated the patients for outcomes and possible complications. While all treatment techniques proved successful, the individuals receiving thermal ablation therapy experienced fewer adverse effects. However, when patients have veins with very wide diameters or veins that lie particularly close to the skin, specialists are more inclined to recommend surgical removal as a safer alternative. To determine the best individualized treatment method, you should consult with a vascular specialist at the IVC Interventional and Vein Center.
If you experience the aching or cramping sensations that are associated with varicose veins, you may find it difficult to make it through each day. With an estimated 30-60 percent of adults suffering from varicose veins, it’s a good bet you are not alone. Whether your condition is the result of genetics, hormones or having an occupation that requires being on your feet for long periods, varicose and spider veins can create non-stop discomfort. However, Utah residents now have a varicose vein center that may be able to eliminate this painful condition.
What Causes Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
There are plenty of reasons both men and women develop varicose and spider veins, including obesity, a prior history of blood clots, use of birth control pills or even abdominal tumors that can put increased pressure on veins. If you are a woman who’s expecting a baby, varicose and spider veins may worsen during your pregnancy. Swelling around your ankles may occur, sometimes leading to a darkening of the skin. Occasionally, blood clots may occur, especially as people age, so it’s a good idea to see your doctor if problems persist.
Treating Varicose and Spider Veins
When many people think of varicose and spider veins, the first image that comes to mind is support stockings and socks. Considered the most conservative treatment option, these can sometimes provide enough support to alleviate pain and suffering. For some, getting rid of varicose and spider veins may involve simply losing weight and exercising. Walking has been shown to be an effective treatment for this condition, and improved skin hygiene can sometimes help. However, for those of you with severe cases, you’ll probably need more advanced treatment. If propping up your legs or wearing support hose or socks aren’t enough, you’ve got plenty of other treatment options. These can include traditional sclerotherapy and newer treatments such as endovenous thermal ablation. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a saline solution into a vein, causing it to typically disappear within six weeks. A simple and inexpensive procedure, it’s done on an outpatient basis. Thermal ablation involves inserting a catheter into the vein, which then delivers energy, forcing the vein to collapse. Also done on an outpatient basis, local anesthesia is used for this procedure.
Get the Help You Need
If you’re suffering from varicose and spider veins, we can help alleviate your pain. If you live in Utah varicose vein treatment is available to help your legs once again look and feel healthy. IVC is located in Provo at the Physician’s Plaza on the Utah Valley Hospital campus. Schedule an appointment today, and we will be happy to discuss your condition and any available treatment options.
As many as 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins and their symptoms. Symptoms including leg pain, aches, heaviness, itching, and leg swelling. For many, these symptoms affect their daily life, making it difficult to do the things you love to even normal daily activities. Fortunately, varicose vein treatment in Utah consists of simple, in-office procedures that the physicians at IVC have been performing for over 10 years.
We put together an infographic answering many of the questions patients have about varicose veins:
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