Varicose Veins - What You Should Know About Vein Care
Varicose veins happen when the walls of your vein weaken and the valves that keep blood flowing in one direction become faulty. As a result, the blood backs up inside your vein and it stretches and bulges under your skin, creating the blue or purple appearance of varicose veins. Your health care provider can diagnose varicose veins during a physical exam, which includes feeling your legs while you are sitting and standing.
Some people are at a higher risk of developing varicose veins than others. The exact cause isn’t known, but it might be related to hormones (such as estrogen from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy) or to having a family history of varicose veins. It may also be due to being overweight or being older, both of which can put pressure on your veins.
Center For Advanced Vein Care, varicose veins can lead to complications such as leg ulcers. Varicose veins aren’t life-threatening, but they can have a negative impact on your quality of life. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
There are several different types of treatment for varicose veins. Most are minimally invasive and can be done in your doctor’s office. Sclerotherapy is one of the most popular and effective varicose vein treatments. It involves injecting a special solution into the affected vein. The solution causes the vein to scar and forces your blood into nearby healthy veins, which eventually close and fade away. Another option is ambulatory phlebectomy, which removes large surface veins through small punctures that do not require stitches.
Both of these procedures can be combined with ultrasound to guide the procedure, resulting in less pain and faster recovery. An enhanced version called transilluminated power phlebectomy uses a fiber optic light to create a silhouette of the veins under your skin, which allows your doctor to place the surgical tool more precisely. This results in less bleeding and scarring, as well as fewer treatments overall.
For severe varicose veins, your health care provider may recommend surgery to tie off or remove the diseased vein. This is usually done on an outpatient basis and you may need medicine to sedate you. Other surgeries include subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery (SEPS), in which your health care provider uses a clip to block off the damaged vein above your ankle. This prevents blood from flowing through the vein, which helps ulcers heal and stops varicose veins from coming back.
You can help prevent varicose veins by wearing compression stockings and exercising regularly. You should avoid tight clothing, which can restrict circulation in your legs, and you should raise your feet while sitting or standing for long periods of time. It’s also important to drink enough fluids, which helps your blood flow and reduces the pressure in your veins.
Whether you need treatment or not, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your symptoms and health. Your health care provider can explain your options and what to expect from each procedure.