Table of contents:
1- What are varicose veins?
2- Symptoms of varicose veins
3- What are the causes of varicose veins?
4- Risk factors
5- Prognosis of varicose veins
6- Can varicose veins be prevented?
7- How is the treatment?
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are veins that dilate in such a way that they can be seen in relief on the skin. These swollen vessels usually appear purple or bluish in color and appear mainly in women, in the calf area and on the inside of the legs.
Veins contain valves that keep blood flowing to the heart. When the valves are weakened or damaged, blood pools in the veins.
Although the most common type of varicose vein is the one that appears in the legs, there are also other types of dilated veins, such as spider veins, which are smaller. In addition, dilated veins can appear in the esophagus, in the anal region, such as hemorrhoids, or in the testicles, such as varicocele.
Symptoms of varicose veins
The main telltale symptom of varicose veins is dark blue or purple veins or veins that are visible through the skin.
However, there are other signs of varicose veins:
- Swelling in the ankles and feet.
- Heaviness and pain in the legs.
- Itching in the legs, especially in the ankle area.
- Cramping and throbbing in the legs.
- More severe pain after sitting or standing for a long time.
Causes of varicose veins
The arteries are responsible for transporting blood from the heart to the rest of the body, while the veins have the function of returning blood to the heart. The valves must let the blood through and then close to prevent it from flowing back.
In many cases the valves weaken and lose elasticity, which makes the veins unable to transport blood normally and the veins dilate.
They recommend avoiding a sedentary lifestyle
and maintaining a healthy diet
What are the risk factors for varicose veins?
- Age: with the passage of time there is a natural wear and tear of the valves, which allows the blood to return to the veins and accumulate.
- Sex: Women are more prone to varicose veins due to hormonal changes that occur with menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. In many cases, birth control pills also play a role in the appearance of varicose veins.
- Family history
- Obesity: there is increased pressure on the veins.
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Prognosis of varicose veins
In some cases varicose veins do not bring any complications to the patient. However, although rare, there are some problems that arise from varicose veins:
- Blood clots: occur when leg veins dilate and cause pain or swelling.
- Ulcers: can occur near varicose veins and usually manifest in the ankles. The main symptom is a discolored spot on the skin.
- Bleeding: in some cases the veins may burst, which requires medical attention.
Can varicose veins be prevented?
One of the best methods to prevent the appearance of varicose veins is to maintain good blood circulation. To do so, it is necessary to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and eat a good diet, low in saturated fats. In addition, it is important to apply cold water to the legs.
Once varicose veins have appeared, they can be prevented from worsening with more or less similar measures: do not sit or stand for long periods of time, avoid crossing your legs, keep them up when lying down, be physically active, avoid being overweight and do not wear high-heeled shoes.
On the other hand, leg massages and the use of compression stockings may also be helpful.
Treatment of varicose veins
Currently there are several treatments for varicose veins, which are performed both for aesthetic purposes and to alleviate the symptoms of pain and heaviness:
- Phleboextraction is surgery to remove varicose veins from the legs. It is usually performed under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia, with which only half of the body is asleep.
- Endovenous ablation of varicose veins is surgery that uses radiofrequency or laser to close varicose veins. This surgery is less invasive and safer than varicose vein stripping.
- Ultrasound-guided microfoam sclerosis is the most recent technique presented as an alternative to surgery. It consists of injecting the foam into the veins so that they shrink and disappear,
It is important to treat varicose veins beyond an aesthetic issue, as it eventually leads to a health and blood circulation problem.