The definition of varicose veins is veins that have become swollen and distended. Normally they will be found in the legs and feet, but it is possible to get them elsewhere. They range from blue to dark purple in color and can range from mild with no issues to severe and a few problems. Some of the symptoms are: –
- Aching legs
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
- Throbbing sensation felt in the legs
- Leg cramps, especially at night
- Skin becoming thinner in the location of the varicose vein.
- General discomfort
Summer tends to be a time when the symptoms are going to get worse and more pain will be felt when you are standing for a long time. Resting usually helps and most of the time there is no need to visit the vein doctor. There are however times when a trip to the vein doctor in NJ will be beneficial and that is when the conditions affect you more than normal and lead you to having to make changes in your life.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Valves inside the veins stop blood flowing the wrong way and when they become damaged, that is exactly what happens. The vein then has too much blood in it and becomes damaged and leads to the condition known as varicose veins. There are a number of reasons this happens. Some of them you can control to a degree but in some cases, you just have to accept that it is likely to happen to you. The main reasons are:
- Gender – If you are female then it is likely that you will eventually get them.
- Family history – It does seem to be the case that they run in families.
- Aging – Most suffers do tend to be over 50 years of age.
- Pregnancy or other reasons for being overweight
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time.
There are times when it can be more serious reasons, and these should certainly be checked out by the vein doctor. These include:
- Having suffered from a blood clot in the past
- Pelvis issues normally in the shape of a tumor or general swelling
- Abnormality of the blood vessels.
Various types of varicose veins a vein doctor treats
Not all varicose veins are the same and as a result the treatment suggested by your vein doctor in NJ will be dependent upon the type of vein. Trunk veins are going to be the most noticeable. They are thick and located close to the surface of the skin. They are longer than the rest and as they are so big, they can look as bad as they feel. After this there are the reticular varicose veins, and these are identifiable due to the fact that they are located very close together. They are red and seem to be interlinked. The lesser ones are telangiectasia or spider veins. These are the ones that can appear on the face and are much less severe than the others. They will not try to push their way through the skin in the way that others do.
In some cases, there may not need to be treatment and if there is, it could just be wearing compression stockings for around 6 months. If this does not work and there are still problems, then the vein doctor is going to have to look at further treatment. There are several ways to treat this and it will be a good idea to meet with the vein doctor in NJ to discuss which option is going to be best. Options might include the following:
Endothermal ablation – Heat from either laser or radio waves is used to destroy a problematic vein. There are usually two techniques involved: radiofrequency ablation(RFA) and endovenous laser ablation (EVLA).
- Radiofrequency ablation entails heating the varicose veins walls with radio waves energy. So, the vein doctor in NJ accesses the vein via a tiny incision created right above or beneath your knee. A thin tube(catheter) is then placed inside the vein via an ultrasound scan and then a probe is inserted inside it. This probe then releases radio waves energy that heats up the vein until the walls give way and close totally. Once the vein has sealed off, the blood will naturally re-route to a different vein that is healthier. Radiofrequency ablation is often done under local anesthesia to make the patient as calm as possible. While the procedure is over ninety percent effective it does cause some mild side effects like paraesthesia. But to help you heal faster, your vein doctor might recommend wearing compression stockings for seven straight days.
- EVLT is all about treating varicose veins with laser energy. The vein doctor in NJ will pass a small laser through a narrow catheter and position it at the top of the aching vein. Then the device will release short beams of energy that will heat up the varicose vein and seal it off. Then the vein doctor will put the laser along the vein via the guidance of the ultrasound scan to allow the whole of it to get closed. Just like RFA, EVLT is done under local anesthesia to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy -This is going to be offered if endothermal ablation is not seen as being the answer to your problems. Rather than heat being sent in to close up the veins it is going to be foam that will go in and cause scars to appear on the varicose veins. Your vein doctor will explain that this should not be carried out if you have previously been a victim of deep vein thrombosis. It will be beneficial to have this if you are suitable as the vein doctor in NJ will be able to treat multiple veins during the same treatment session.
A local anesthetic will be used and the area to be dealt with will be fully numbed. In a matter of weeks, the veins will begin fading and it will be clear that there are other veins that are replacing them and removing the blood. It could be that there has to be a serious of treatment sessions over the weeks, but at the end you will understand that it was worth it.
The downside to sclerotherapy is that it is not possible to say how effective it is in the long term and until a vein doctor has had the chance to carry it out many times, they will not get the chance to work this out. A recent study showed that the veins can come back. There are also some side effects that could include blood clots, headaches, skin color alterations or pain in the lower back, as well as fainting and problems with vision.
Your vein doctor in NJ should tell you that this is only going to be temporary and not everyone will have any of them let alone all. Returning to work will be within a day or so and it is likely that you will be able to do most things normally the same day as the treatment takes place. You are going to be bandaged and need compression stockings for a week or so.
Surgery -If your vein doctor in NJ determines that surgery is necessary, you will have to have general anesthetic and help once you get back home. It is ligation and stripping that a vein doctor will normally carry out and you need to go to hospital. You could have to stay and then have help once returning home. The cut is made in the groin and a wire sent down to one in the knee. The part of the vein at the groin is tied off and then pulled and taken out of the cut by the knee. This can be painful and lead to bruising and in more severe cases blood clots and DVT. It will take weeks rather than days to recover. If ligation and stripping surgery is required, it is usually meant for more serious cases. It is rarely offered these days as doctors prefer to try minimally invasive techniques first.
Phlebectomy- This is now being trialed but not always recommended. A cut is made, and the vein doctor will basically use the equipment to suck the veins out.
Foam sclerotherapy -Foam is forced into the veins and again it seals the veins. This means that the blood has to find another way to get back to the heart.
Insurance will cover certain treatment but not if the reasons for management can be classed as cosmetic. Your vein doctor will need to inform them if the reason is in fact medical. Prevention of varicose veins is not easy and once they start to form it is even harder to stop them from getting worse. New ones will start to form, and the older ones will become bigger and start to hurt. There is however a way to negate the symptoms and make your legs feel a little better. This will include:
- Movement – If you often sit then stand, and vice versa every half an hour or so.
- Raising the legs – If you manage to do this, even for a short time each day there should be less pain. When at home try to rest them on pillows as this will be most beneficial.
- Exercise – This will help both with keeping the weight down and help with circulation. If the blood is moving correctly, there is less chance that it will fall back to the feet.
Your vein doctor in NJ will warn you that not everyone is going to gain any benefit from using these and if they are to be effective, the right ones have to be worn. To determine which ones will be best a Doppler investigation will have to be carried out and this will check how the blood is circulating.
The stockings will fit close on the legs and squeeze them so that the blood circulates more easily. The tightest part will be at the ankle and they will become loser as the area of problematic veins is passed. The blood will therefore be forced upwards. While not a cure, they will help with the pain and unfortunately may not be able to stop new varicose veins forming. They are only to be worn for a short period of time, unless it has been decided by the vein doctor that there are no other treatments that are going to be suitable for you.
It is important that the stockings are the correct ones as the size and pressure has to be correct in order for there to be any benefit. The selected vein doctor in NJ will provide class 1 stockings for varicose veins as this is best for mild compression. Next you choose the color and length – knee length or thigh length; choose if they have toes or not and you are ready to go.
Caring for compression stocking
It will be possible to wash them by hand or in a washing machine. If they are placed into a mesh bag, they will not get caught on other items during the washing process. They can be washed with detergent but are too delicate to be cleaned with chlorine bleach. While it may be tempting, you should not use fabric conditioner as it will not help them.
Having leg cramps due to problems with veins is a common thing. So, if you are having constant cramps at night, chances are that you have a venous reflux disease that requires further investigation and treatment. It is important to know that there is cure for this disease along with its symptoms. If you already have varicose veins and/or spider veins, you can be almost sure that your cramping pain is a result of the disease that causes them. As a result, we would highly recommend seeing a vein doctor in NJ like Dr.Caroline Novak. She will examine your leg veins and determine the exact cause of your cramps and other symptoms. Once the vein doctor in NJ locates the actual problem, one or more of the treatment options described earlier will be suggested and offered.