Varicose Veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. These large bulging and gnarled veins can cause pain as well as blood clots, skin ulcers, and other serious problems. Our body has a system of veins that carry blood from the body tissues back to your heart. Once in the heart, the blood is sent to the lungs to be oxygenated then delivered to arteries which take this oxygen-rich blood again throughout your body. When the system of valves within the veins become “incompetent” and no longer push the blood upward toward your heart blood begins to pool within the vein. Because many veins are near the surface of the skin the pooling of blood creates visibly full veins that push outward creating the Varicose Veins.
Symptoms: Symptoms of Varicose Veins can be pain in the legs, itching, swelling, burning, leg heaviness or tiredness, & skin discoloration. Generally, symptoms worsen throughout the day (especially in hot temperature) when individuals are standing and the veins are having difficulty pumping the blood back to the heart.
Causes: Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in the veins that are not able to work properly against gravity and push the blood back up to the heart. This inability of veins to function properly is called venous insufficiency and is the main problem behind varicose veins. There are several potential causes for Varicose Veins and risk factors that an individual may be more likely to get them
Risk Factors: Pregnancy, menopause age over 50, standing for long periods of time, sedentary lifestyle, obesity-which increases the pressure on the legs and makes it more difficult for the veins to pump the blood upward.
Diagnosis: Will be done during a physical examination while standing with a vascular surgeon. The physicians of Western Vascular Institute will also request that you have a Doppler ultrasound scan to check the blood flow in the superficial and deep veins.
Varicose Veins are generally diagnosed by your Vascular Surgeon through ultrasound along with a physical exam.
Conservative management –allowing the patient/surgeon to receive their desired outcomes by changing lifestyle to include:
• Patient training
• Weight loss
• Elevating your legs
• Avoiding long periods of standing or sitting
• Compression stockings