Varicose Veins

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Veins are blood vessels that return blood from all the organs in the body toward the heart. When the different organs use oxygen from the blood to perform their functions, they release the used blood containing waste products, such as carbon dioxide, into the veins. Blood in the veins is then transported to the heart and returned to the lungs, where the waste carbon dioxide is released and more oxygen is loaded by the blood and taken back to the rest of the body by the arteries.

 

What are varicose veins?

Veins can bulge with pools of blood when they fail to circulate the blood properly. These visible and bulging veins, called varicose veins, are more common in the legs and thighs, but can develop anywhere in the body.

Who gets varicose veins?

Varicose veins can occur in men or women of any age, but most frequently affect women in the childbearing years and older people. Varicose veins are very common.

  • A family history of varicose veins and older age increase one's tendency to develop varicose and spider veins.
  • Other risk factors include:
  • A sedentary lifestyle,
  • Weight gain,
  • Prolonged standing, and
  • Pregnancy

What causes varicose veins?

In some instances, the weakness of valves in the veins may cause poor circulation and lead to varicose veins. Valves inside veins normally act to ensure that blood in the veins does not flow in a backward direction away from the large veins and the heart. They are mainly located in perforating veins and some deep veins.

In other cases, weaknesses in the vein walls may cause pooling of the blood. The walls of the blood vessels can become weaker and less competent than normal, causing the volume of blood in the veins to increase, thus leading to varicose veins.

What are varicose vein symptoms?

  • Many people with varicose veins do not have any physical symptoms. They may, however, have concerns over the cosmetic appearance of the varicose veins.
  • Symptoms of varicose veins may include:
  • Aching,
  • Cramping,
  • Itching,
  • Swelling, and
  • Fatigue

Some people may complain of a dull ache and pressure sensation from varicose veins.

Treatments for varicose veins?

There are many different treatments available for varicose veins. These treatments vary based upon the size and location of the varicose veins, the presence of symptoms, and in cases of accompanying skin changes, for example, swelling, dermatitis or ulceration, for example. Briefly, potential treatments may include:

  • Leg elevation while sitting or sleeping,
  • Compression dressings with single or multilayered systems,
  • Compression stockings,
  • Laser therapy, and
  • Surgery

Prevention of varicose veins may be accomplished by leg elevation, avoidance of prolonged standing, and wearing elastic support stockings. Regular exercise and control of weight can also be beneficial. These measures can prevent or slow down the progression of varicose veins.

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