What the experts say about varicose veins and what you need to know
Here are the top 6 things you can do to help prevent varicose veins:
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without taking a break. When sitting, avoid crossing your legs. Keep your legs raised when sitting, resting, or sleeping. When you can raising your legs above the level of your heart will help.
- Do physical activities to get your legs moving and improve muscle tone. This helps blood move through your veins.
- If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose weight. This will increase blood flow and ease the pressure on your veins.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes, especially those that are tight around your waist, groin (upper thighs), and legs. Tight clothes can make varicose veins worse.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods.
- Wear compression stockings if your doctor recommends them. These stockings create gentle pressure up the leg. This pressure keeps blood from pooling in the veins and decreases the swelling in the legs.
Vein Anatomy: how do I get varicose veins?
Your body contains both deep and superficial veins. Inside these veins are one-way valves, which stop blood flowing backwards in the wrong direction. In varicose veins, the walls of the veins stretch, becoming less flexible, which weakens the valves and stops them from working properly. Blood then leaks backwards and builds up in the vein, causing it to swell.
Connecting the deep and superficial veins are a third type of vein, the perforator veins. Incompetent perforators can cause significant complications, including skin ulcerations. This condition, known as Superficial Venous Reflux Disease, can result in significant disability.
What happens in varicose veins?
The reason why your veins and valves stretch and stop working is not fully understood, but their are many correlations. Though varicose veins are caused by a number of factors, the biggest one for most patients is their family history. And while you can’t control your genetics, you can change many of the habits that cause varicose veins, including obesity, smoking, an inactive or sedentary lifestyle, and a job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time without breaks. By living a more active life, losing weight, quitting smoking, and varying your daily standing and sitting routine, you can dramatically impact the risk for developing varicose veins.
However, like your family’s history, many other factors are not so easily altered. As you age, your risk increases. Your gender can also put you at a higher risk, as women are more prone to venous insufficiency than men. Additionally, there is an increased likelihood of developing venous insufficiency for women during pregnancy, specifically in the first trimester. And though the problem generally improves a few weeks after delivery, it can become worse with each additional pregnancy, and may contribute to chronic venous insufficiency.
Regardless of what causes your varicose veins, there are safe and effective treatments at VIP Centers of America which may improve the appearance of your legs and prevent long-term health problems like chronic venous deficiency. Whether influenced by a multiple factors or none at all, the treatments are usually covered by insurance. By treating the problem early, you can help avoid serious complications later on. We can help you determine if you’re a good a candidate for treatment— contact our team today for your complimentary consultation and free appointment.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins. Any veins in the body may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because when standing and walking upright the pressure in the veins of your lower body rises.
What causes varicose veins?
Age is one cause as you get older, your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become fragile, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward.
Blood will pool in your veins, and your veins stretch and become varicose veins. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
Pregnancy is another cause. Some pregnant women will develop varicose veins. Pregnancy will increase the amount of blood in your body, and reduce the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but the outcome can be an unfortunate side effect such as enlarged veins in your legs.
Are varicose veins dangerous?
Each case of varicose veins is different. Some patients will see their symptoms deteriorate, while others could be at risk of coming down with a range of more severe, potentially life-threatening conditions.
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor will do a physical exam, in addition to looking at your legs while you’re standing to evaluate for swelling. You also may need a diagnostic ultrasound test to see if the valves in your veins are functioning normally or if there is evidence of any blood clots.
What are the treatment options for varicose veins?
Sclerotherapy uses a highly concentrated saline solution that is injected straight into the vein, causing the vein to disappear gradually over three to six weeks. The procedure is easy, somewhat inexpensive, and can be performed in an outpatient setting.
EVLT is a procedure in which a small laser fiber is inserted into the vein. Pulses of laser light are conveyed inside the vein, which causes the vein to collapse. The procedure is done as an outpatient under local anesthesia.
Radiofrequency Ablation uses a small catheter that is inserted into the vein. The catheter then delivers radiofrequency energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal shut. The procedure is generally done in an outpatient or office setting, under local anesthesia.
Can I do anything to prevent varicose veins?
You can’t prevent varicose veins from forming. You can prevent the ones you have from getting worse. You also can take steps to postpone other varicose veins from forming.
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