Varicose Veins

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Varicose Veins Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins, usually blue or dark purple, that usually occur on the legs.

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin.

They may also be lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.

Veins return deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart where it is pumped through the lungs to become full of oxygen again.

In order to return blood to the heart, veins have to work against gravity.

Varicose veins have a swollen, twisted, and sometimes discolored appearance that can be seen protruding underneath the skin.

Varicose veins can form anywhere on the body but is most commonly formed on the legs.

Varicose Veins Symptoms

In most cases, varicose veins do not cause any medical issues but there are times that it does.

Varicose veins can cause painful stasis leg ulcers, which aren't life threatening, but will need to be treated by a doctor to heal properly.

Leg ulcers occur when stagnant blood that is trapped in the vein leaks into nearby tissue. This can cause the tissue to weaken and breakdown causing an ulcer.

Varicose veins usually develop on the legs, either on the back of your calf or on the inside of your leg.

However, they can also sometimes occur in other parts of your body, such as your gullet (oesophagus), womb (uterus), vagina, pelvis or rectum.

You may notice dry, itchy and thin skin over the affected vein.

Swollen feet and ankles, burning or throbbing in your legs.

These symptoms are usually worse during warm weather or if you've been standing up for long periods of time.

They may improve when you walk around or if you rest and raise your legs. Pillows are a good way to raise your legs comfortably.

Due to varicose veins protruding just beneath the skin; it is more prone to trauma.

Varicose veins bleed more heavily than normal veins due to high pressure within the vein.

Because varicose veins bleed heavily, rapid blood loss can occur from falls and scrapes to the area.

Blood clots can form in the veins causing swelling, redness, pain, and warmth in the area. This condition is known as thrombophlebitis.

If a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) travels to the lungs, it can be fatal.

A type of eczema called varicose eczema can cause blisters, redness, crusty, and scaly skin

The skin can become hardened and turn brown or red in color.

It usually occurs on the calf and is called Lipodermatosclerosis.

Panniculitis is another symptom that is similar to Lipodermatosclerosis.

It causes the lower leg to become extremely red, inflamed, and painful.

Lipodermatosclerosis, varicose eczema, and stasis leg ulcers are caused by Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

Stasis leg ulcers are usually found near the ankle.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency occurs over time when the blood in the veins stop flowing correctly which in turn interferes with the way the skin and blood exchanges nutrients, waste, and oxygen.

Pain tends to occur towards the end of the day and is often described as sharp or aching pain.

Some people with a more severe case will feel pain upon standing regardless of the time of day.

Cramps often occur at night and can also affect the feet.

Restless Legs Syndrome occurs most often at the end of the day when a person attempts to sleep.

The person will find it difficult to control their legs moving

Reverse pressure of the vein can cause the ankle to swell and it can turn into Lymphedema

Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system fails to circulate fluids in the body properly.

This causes a buildup which results in swelling.

The legs may start to feel tired and weak.

It can become very difficult to stand for prolonged periods of time.

Varicose Veins Causes

There is a hereditary component to varicose veins.

Unforeseen issues, such as trauma, can damage veins, resulting in varicose veins.

Straining from being constipated places added pressure on the abdomen which in turn adds stress to the veins in the legs.

Both males and females can develop varicose veins.

It is more common in females due to changes in hormones that are associated with puberty, menopause, pregnancy, and birth control

Varicose Veins Diagnosis

A doctor will ask about the patient's medical history, perform a physical examination, and ask questions about the symptoms that the person is experiencing.

An ultrasound can be performed to see if the valves in the veins are working properly, check blood flow, and check to see if blood clots are present.

An ultrasound is noninvasive and uses sound waves to produce an image of internal body structures.

Specialized ultrasound machines, called Doppler ultrasound machines, can also be utilized by a doctor.

There are three types of Doppler ultrasound machines: continuous, duplex, and color.

Continuous or bedside Dopplerultrasound uses the pitch of sounds that the blood flow creates when flowing through a vessel to help provide information about blood flow.

The doctor listens to the sounds from the ultrasound to evaluate blood flow to the area

Duplex Doppler ultrasound machines uses sound waves like regular ultrasound machines that provide an internal image of the area.

Duplex Doppler machines can also provide a graph through a computer that shows the direction and speed of the blood flow in a particular vessel.

Color Doppler also uses sound waves like a regular ultrasound to produce internal images.

But a computer also converts the Doppler sound into colors which can also determine speed and direction of blood flow.

A venogram or angiogram may be used if a more detailed view of blood flow within the veins is needed.

A specialized dye is injected and an x-ray is taken of the area.

Varicose Veins Treatment

Compression stockings are specially designed to steadily squeeze your legs to improve circulation.

They are often tightest at the ankle and get gradually looser as they go further up your leg.

This encourages blood to flow upwards towards your heart.

Compression stockings may help relieve the pain, discomfort and swelling in your legs caused by your varicose veins.

However, it's not known whether the stockings help prevent your varicose veins getting worse, or if they prevent new varicose veins appearing.

Compression stockings can be purchased over the counter or by prescription.

Prescription stockings will provide more pressure than over the counter stockings.

If you are pregnant and you have varicose veins, you may be offered compression stockings for the duration of your pregnancy.

Medical procedures for varicose veins usually results in either removing the vein or closing the vein off.

Once a vein is removed or closed off the blood will reroute through another vein.

Sclerotherapy uses a solution that is injected into the vein.

The solution causes the vein to scar and close off.

The vein will fade away but it may require more than one treatment.

It can be done in the doctor's office and does not require anesthesia.

Laser surgery uses strong light energy to close off the vein and the vein will fade away

Endovenous Ablation Therapy uses radio waves or laser energy which creates heat that will effectively close off the vein.

A very small incision is made in the skin and a catheter is placed into the vein.

The tip of the catheter heats up the vein which results in the vein collapsing and sealing off.

Endoscopic Vein Surgery is usually used in advanced varicose vein cases.

A tiny camera is inserted in the vein to visualize the area and close the vein off.

Once the vein is closed off, it is removed through tiny incisions.

This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis

Vein Stripping is the process of closing off and surgically removing the vein.

It's usually done on an outpatient basis and reserved for more severe cases of varicose veins.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy is usually reserved for smaller varicose veins.

Small cuts are made in the skin to remove the vein.

If a varicose vein hemorrhages, immediate action is required to stop the bleeding to prevent death from rapid blood loss.

To stop hemorrhaging varicose veins from bleeding, pressure should be applied and the body part should be elevated immediately.

Seek immediate medical attention if the bleeding persists.

Thrombophlebitis can be treated by wearing compression stockings and taking NSAIDS like Ibuprofen.

Leg stasis ulcers should be dressed and the wound protected from infection.

The underlying cause should be addressed and fixed to avoid more ulcers from forming.

Creams containing steroids can be used to treat varicose eczema.

The only way to cure varicose eczema is to treat the underlying veins.

Varicose Veins Prevention

To prevent varicose veins, avoid being on your feet or standing for extended periods of time without taking breaks.

If obese, losing weight can avoid extra pressure being placed on the legs

When sitting, avoid crossing the legs which can impede proper blood flow

Keep the legs elevated when relaxing.

avoiding standing or sitting still for long periods and trying to move around every 30 minutes

taking regular breaks throughout the day, raising the legs on pillows while resting to ease discomfort

Exercise or increase physical activity

Exercise keeps the blood flowing and muscles contracting which helps with blood flow.

Avoid wearing shoes with high heels.

Avoid wearing tight clothing.

Varicose Veins Types

There are many different types of varicose veins.

Trunk varicose veins are bulging, swollen, and sometimes discolored veins.

Secondary trunk varicose veins are recurrent varicose veins that return after surgery.

It may appear in a different location.

Varicoceles are types of varicose veins that are located in the scrotum (the skin on the testicles).

Reticular varicose veins are typically blue or green in color and can occur in groupings that are close together.

Hemorrhoids are also a type of varicose vein that occurs in or around the anus

Some people may not experience any symptoms from hemorrhoids while others may experience burning, itching, and pain

Telangiectasias, spider veins, or variculas are clusters of capillaries that are usually located on the upper portion of the body including the face.

Telangiectasias are not true varicose veins as they occur in capillaries which are the smallest blood vessels in the body.

Telangiectasiasdo not bulge underneath the skin but usually appears red, blue, or dark purple in color.

Though Telangiectasias are mostly seen as not being harmful, it can be a sign of a more serious condition such as liver disease;

Therefore it should be checked out by a doctor.

Varicose Veins Statistics & Facts

In the US, approximately 25 million people have varicose veins.

When both parents have varicose veins, it causes a 90% increase in chance of developing it.

Approximately 55% of women and 45% of men over 50 suffer from vein problems.

When one parent has varicose veins, female offspring have a 60% chance and male offspring have a 25% chance of developing varicose veins.

Over many years, some varicose ulcers can develop into cancer if left untreated.

It is important to have varicose veins treated to avoid further damage or medical problems resulting from the varicose veins.

Varicose Veins Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What are Varicose Veins?

The veins contain valves which open to allow bloodflow then closes to prevent blood from flowing backwards.

When the valve fails to close properly, deoxygenated blood pools in the vein causing a bluish color.

The bluish color is due to the lack of oxygen in the blood that would have been replenished with oxygen if it made it to the heart.

It’s most commonly found on the legs becauseit is farthest from the heart so the blood has to travel against the most gravity which requires the veins to work harder.

Varicose veins usually don't cause medical problems. If they do, your doctor may simply suggest making lifestyle changes.

Varicose Veins Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of varicose veins is the appearance of enlarged, tangled, and discolored veins.

Mild swelling of your ankles and feet.

Painful, achy, or "heavy" legs. Throbbing or cramping in your legs.

Itchy legs, especially on the lower leg and ankle. Sometimes this symptom is incorrectly diagnosed as dry skin.

Discolored skin in the area around the varicose vein.

Varicose Veins Causes

Lack of movement, sitting, crossing the legs, and standing for long lengths of time can cause varicose veins due to the additional stress placed on the veins. Movement and the contracting of muscles help to move blood throughout the body.

Age can be a factor in the development of varicose veins due to the decrease in the elasticity of the vein and weakened valves.

Pregnancy can be the culprit in causing varicose veins due to the increase in hormones, increase in weight, increased blood flow, and pressure on the arteries and veins from the growing baby.

Obesity can result in varicose veins due to the added pressure on the veins and possible enlargement of the veins.

If an individual has a close family member that has varicose veins, it will increase their chances of developing varicose veins as well.

Varicose Veins Treatment

Changes in lifestyle are often the first line of treatment for varicose veins.

One might consider losing weight if obese, avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, avoid crossing the legs, keep the legs elevated, increase physical activity, avoid wearing high heeled shoes, and avoid tight clothing.

Compression stockings are often recommended by doctors and should be worn all day.

A compression stocking uses gentle pressure on the legs which in turn keeps blood from pooling and reduces the amount of swelling.

Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually resolve on its own a few months after delivery.

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