Varicose veins are widened, twisted veins in our legs that become visible through the skin after their faulty valves cause the reflux of blood. This backflow of blood leads to hypertension and causes the veins to swell up and appear blue/purple.
Veins take blood from the tissues around the body to our lungs and heart to oxygenate the blood. When the valves in our veins malfunction, they let blood flow in the wrong direction.
This is most common in the legs, because blood flow has to fight gravity when traveling up. The resultant varicose veins are not just unsightly, but also painful. Varicose veins worsen with age and will have to be treated if the pain becomes unbearable.
Who’s At Risk?
Although varicose veins can impact anyone, they’re a lot more common among women and overweight individuals.
Moreover, there is a genetic component to the condition, as people who have relatives with varicose veins are more likely to develop them.
How Can They Be Prevented?
The first line of treatment for varicose veins is always compression stockings. These are knee-high socks that are loose at the feet, but tighter from the ankles upwards. The pressure from the socks prevents blood from flowing in the wrong direction. Compression stockings can prevent varicose veins to an extent, but they don’t guarantee that you won’t develop varicose veins.
Other than compression stockings, regular exercise and a healthy diet have also proven to help prevent varicose veins.
When Do Varicose Veins Cause Complications?
Some people make the mistake of dismissing varicose veins as a cosmetic issue, but varicose veins can lead to many other complications; if left untreated, they can cause serious discomfort.
The more swollen varicose veins become, the more painful they get.
People with varicose veins experience throbbing pain and itchiness near the swollen veins. In more serious cases, varicose veins lead to leg swelling and wounds around the ankle that will require medical attention.
In the worst case scenario, varicose veins cause the development of blood clots that lead to an inflammatory reaction which can become potentially life-threatening.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can be treated with minimally invasive outpatient treatments such as:
- Injecting specific agents to small veins to remove them (sclerotherapy)
- thermal (laser or radiofrequency) ablation
- vein removal (phlebectomy)
Each of these treatments can be performed by varicose veins specialists in their offices within 30–45 minutes. Patients can return to their daily activities in 24 hours; although there may be some discomfort for two weeks, it can be alleviated with OTC medication.
If your varicose veins have become too painful to bear, book an appointment with a vein doctor near you.
Varicose Veins Doctors in New York offer a range of vein treatments that consist of radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation sclerotherapy, and ClariVein. The clinic treats leg cramps, leg heaviness, spider veins, varicose veins, restless leg syndrome and more.
Contact the clinic today for a consultation.