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  • How Much Do You Know about Varicose Veins?

    free vein screeningAside from becoming aware that varicose veins are bulging veins underneath your leg’s skin, what else do you know about them? If you have varicose veins, it is necessary to broaden your knowledge about these veins in order to prevent them from becoming worse or to eliminate them. Furthering the information you know about varicose veins will make you realize that you can choose to live without them.

    What makes varicose veins appear?

    Through the arteries, the heart pushes blood, which is packed with nutrients and oxygen, to the entire body. Veins are the ones that enable it to flow. They encompass valves that work as one-way laps, which prevent blood from circulating backwards thereby allowing it to move up from the legs. Whenever you place pressure to your legs, though, these valves force the blood back to the heart, now in contrast to the flow of gravity. Soon as the valves become damaged or weak, blood may get back to the veins in your legs and accumulate there. As the veins increase in size, varicose veins begin to appear.

    What causes varicose veins?

    Varicose veins are caused by several factors; among them is family history. If your mother have it, it is more likely that you will also have it. Another aspect is your gender. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men. Other hormonal factors are menopause, puberty, use of birth control pills and pregnancy. The rest may be due to occupation, age and obesity.

    What do they look like?

    Varicose veins appear to be protruded or twisted. Their colors are purple and blue. These are a couple of reasons people notice them easily. Worse, they do not look pleasing to the eyes; hence, individuals who have them want to get rid of them. However, you should know that varicose veins are never a cosmetic issue. They pose risk to your health.

    What are the dangers hiding inside the varicose veins? 

    Because blood gathers in the veins, it is possible to clot. If the clotting happens closer to the skin, it can cause medical condition, which is known as phlebitis. You may suffer from pain but this does not put your life to risk. However, it can lead to deep vein thrombosis if the veins grow and move deep into the veins. But this is not just it. Clot may reach the lungs that will later on cause pulmonary embolism. Now, that is something that is life-threatening because it may result to blockage. Varicose veins can also be a start of a severe, advanced condition. When your skin darkens especially in the ankle, you develop hyperpigmentation that can be painful and can lead to venous leg ulcers. But this is not the final stage yet. This may still result to venous disease. Soon as the color of the skin changes, see your doctor immediately.

    What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

    Varicose veins symptoms are many and they range from mild to severe.

    Mild Symptoms:

    - Pain, tiredness, heaviness and burning sensation in the legs

    - Inflammation of the ankles and feet

    - Itchiness of surrounding areas of the veins

    Severe Symptoms:

    - Swelling of not just the ankles and feet but the legs

    - Calf pain after a long period of standing or sitting

    - Skin discoloration, thinning, drying and scaling

     How do specialists diagnose varicose veins?

    A physical exam is necessary for the doctor to assess your veins. As you sit or stand up, he will look into your legs. He will inform you about their symptoms and inquire if you get to experience them. He may request that you undergo other tests to determine if there are other medical conditions that require his attention. You may also have ultrasound so he can check the structure of the veins, examine how the blood circulates and search for possible blood clots.

    Who are the specialists involved in the examination and treatment of the varicose veins?

    If you go to a general doctor or a physician, he or she will refer you to healthcare professionals who specialize in the testing and treatment of the veins. For one, a vein specialist is called phlebologist. This profession is different from vascular medicine doctor whose concentration is on the blood system. When surgery and other medical procedures are necessary, a vascular surgeon is who you need. An interventional radiologist checks the inside of your body by utilizing imaging tools. He or she is allowed to perform treatments without or with little cutting.

    What are the treatment procedures available for varicose veins?

    Compression stockings are recommended to those who suffer from ache and inflammation. But if your concern is more than these two, you may go through ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. You will be given local anesthesia during the procedure. Your doctor will inject a liquid called sclerosant into your veins. As the name suggests, he will use ultrasound as his guide. This liquid, which has air as one of the components, will create foam that will help block the vein. Afterwards, you will be required to use compression stockings. Surgery is an option if your varicose veins have gone serious. This procedure will eliminate evident protruded veins by performing a chain of tiny cuts. If some valves are leaking, they will be tied off behind the knee. To prevent varicose veins from getting back, they may get rid of the vein located in your thigh.

    Is undergoing a specific treatment an assurance that varicose veins will finally go?

    The answer is no. Some varicose veins resurface but only after several years – regardless of how good the treatment is. Some surgery even leaves scar, which serves as a reminder that you used to have varicose veins. You can also do some things to help yourself in your condition. You may elevate your legs soon as arrive home. Make sure that it is higher than your heart. Avoid sitting or standing for a longer span of time. If you can’t help it because your profession requires it, then you may try to change your position once in a while (or for 30 minutes) to lighten up the pressure you are giving to your legs.

    Perform some exercises as well.

    Sources:

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/varicose-spiderveins.cfm#I

    http://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/ourservices/healthcareprofessionalsguide/Documents/Varicose%20Veins%20the%20condition%20explained.pdf

    http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2013-05/hidden-danger-varicose-veins

    http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/varicose-veins-topic-overview

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