Varicose Veins: Understanding the Cause and Treatment

Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged and gnarled as a result of constant pressure. Varicose veins typically pop up in the feet and legs, which many believe is because of the increased pressure that standing and walking puts on the veins in those regions, but they can also occur in the arms, hands, and other parts of the body. For many people, varicose veins are nothing but a cosmetic concern, but for some, they can be painful and lead to other circulatory diseases. The Mayo Clinic offers a complete list of how varicose veins can impact your life, including but not limited to:

  •       Burning, throbbing, and muscle cramping in the impacted areas
  •       An achy or heavy feeling in the legs
  •       Itching around the veins
  •       Bleeding from the veins

Risk Factors for Varicose Veins

Though anyone can develop varicose veins, healthcare professionals cite old age, pregnancy, being female, obesity, standing on one’s feet for long periods of time, and family history as being the biggest risk factors. In fact, according to the Chicago Vein Institute, you have a 90 percent chance of developing varicose veins if both parents have them. If you’re a daughter and one parent had varicose veins, you have a 60 percent chance of developing them as well. Sons, on the other hand, only have a 25 percent chance. Whatever your reason for developing them, if you are tired of living with varicose veins, look into varicose vein treatment near you.

Diagnosing Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are fairly simple to diagnose, as they are characterized by bulging veins. However, your doctor may request a more in-depth examination, during which he or she will inspect your veins for signs of clotting. The test he or she will perform is non-invasive and involves running a hand-held device along your skin over the affected area. The tool transmits images of your veins so that your doctor can see what is going on inside of them. If there are no clots, and if your veins are functioning as they should, your doctor may not recommend treatment.

However, as mentioned above, for many people, varicose veins are more of a cosmetic concern than a health concern. If you do not like the look of your veins and want treatment regardless of what your doctor says, it’s important that you understand what treatment entails.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Fortunately, treating varicose veins is relatively easy and, in some instances, can be done on an outpatient basis. If your case is mild enough, your doctor may just recommend compression stockings and self-care, such as exercising and losing weight. If your case is more severe, however, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery. Some types of surgical procedures that help with the treatment of varicose veins include:

  •       Laser surgery
  •       Vein stripping
  •       Sclerotherapy
  •       Ambulatory phlebectomy
  •       Endoscopic vein surgery

Each of these procedures may sound scary, but they’re not. The Mayo Clinic provides a brief overview of each treatment method and what they entail.

If you’re tired of living with varicose veins, know that there are treatment options. From surgery to self-care, smooth veins may be a few simple steps away.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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