What are Varicose Veins and What Causes Varicose Veins?
For many people, varicose veins first appear as a slightly raised area that looks as if it were a blue streak. For some, this is the only sign of this blemish. But for other people, the severity and number of varicose veins can increase rapidly. And if left untreated they can be a health hazard. Not only will you learn what causes varicose veins, but you will review the top 5 treatments that are minimally invasive and safe.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Before it is possible to discuss the cause of this abnormality of blood flow, it is essential to have a firm grasp of the mechanics of normal blood flow in your legs to explain what causes varicose veins. The veins in your legs have one basic function, and that is to return your blood to the heart to be oxygenated. The flow moves from your feet back to your heart. In each vein are several miniature valves. When everything is working normally the blood flows smoothly through the valves, and each valve closes so there is no backflow of blood. You can think of the valves as doors. When the door is open, the blood flows to the heart. The door closes to prevent any backflow of blood down your leg with each heartbeat. Sometimes the valve is weakened, and the door does not completely close. The result is that the blood flows backward and pools. Eventually, the excess of blood in the pooling area pushes on the wall of the vein, causing it to bulge increasingly. If the condition is not treated the situation grows more acute. In response to the increasing pressure, your body grows unhealthy new veins, often close to the surface of the skin. This condition is what is commonly known as varicose veins.
What Symptoms Will I Experience If I do not Seek Treatment?
Now that you understand what causes varicose veins, you will have a better understanding of the symptoms that develop. As the veins enlarge due to the backflow of blood, they can press on nearby nerves causing pain, throbbing, and cramping. Your legs may feel as if you are carrying excess weight or they may make you feel tired. You might have noticed that these symptoms are more pronounced at the end of the day, especially if you have been on your feet for hours or in the heat. The more technical term for varicose veins is venous reflux/venous insufficiency.
Why Did I Develop this Condition?
What causes varicose veins is directly related to your overall health. Knowing the complicating factors can help you control and alleviate the condition.
Since varicose veins tend to run in families, it is assumed that there is a genetic component. You can take precautions if this condition is experienced by several family members.
People who are overweight and do not exercise regularly are at risk for venous reflux. Losing weight will help you minimize the risk of developing more varicose veins; however, it will not eliminate those that you have already.
In some employment situations, people have to remain on their feet for long periods of time. Waitresses, store clerks, and laborers come to mind. It would be advantageous to select other lines of work that allow you to work with your feet elevated to reduce the effect of this condition.
It is well documented that women and especially women who are pregnant are at risk of developing varicose veins. Again, knowing this fact can be helpful if the individuals accommodate their daily routine to minimize their risk. Women in this situation should seldom wear high heels. If they do wear this type of shoes, they should switch the high heels for a more comfortable pair as soon as possible. So if you go to a fancy occasion, bring flats along and switch when you are not in the spotlight.
One very effective method for relief is the wearing of compression stockings. At first, this may seem to be counter-intuitive, but the steady pressure of these stockings will give support to the walls of your veins, and they are designed not to constrict blood flow.
Another measure to avoid the symptoms of condition is to wear loose clothing. Avoid tight waistbands and constrictions in other areas. You need to maximize the flow of blood throughout your body.
What are the Top 5 Effective Treatments for Varicose Veins?
While many people are able to contain the damage of this ailment, many need to seek medical intervention because their symptoms significantly interfere with the quality of their life. The expert doctors at a vein treatment clinic are best suited to first diagnose the condition and then make treatment suggestions to alleviate the symptoms and in many cases to reverse the progress of the disease. The well-trained doctors will focus on the most non-invasive, safe procedure as possible. The range of treatments at the vein treatment clinic has been designed to meet your needs. These specialists will first assess your health and then suggest the most suitable treatments based on your individual situation. Factors that will affect this decision process are the severity of the condition, current medications taken, and lifestyle factors.
If you seek assistance early in the progress of the condition, you will be able to try sclerotherapy. The procedure consists of the injection of a medicine into the vein to cause a clot in the vein and the blockage of blood flow. Eventually, the body will form scar tissue in this area which over time will disappear.
2) Radiofrequency Ablation: RFA
This procedure uses heat energy to damage the vein so that it closes causing the blood flow to stop. It can be used to treat major varicose veins and replaces vein stripping surgery. A small incision is made for the 7 cm fiber to be inserted into the vein. It is through this fiber that the thermal energy is released. Due to this minimally invasive technique, there is minimal discomfort afterward. Over time, the damaged vein will be entirely absorbed by the body. You will notice the area will gradually reduce in size and color. The success rate for this treatment is 95%.
This is a relatively new type of treatment that has been FDA approved, even though it has been used throughout the world. It had been waiting for FDA approval for 10 years. In the procedure, a premade foam is injected into the vein. One advantage of this method is that there is no need for anesthesia. This medicine will reduce the symptoms and the appearance of varicose veins.
Venaseal or vein glue is one of the newly approved treatments. (2015) It is used for varicose veins that are near the surface of the skin. A glue is introduced to the vein without anesthesia through just one incision. The glue is effective within seconds, sealing off the vein completely. The area will harden but then be gradually absorbed into the body. The body reroutes the blood from this damaged area into the surrounding healthy veins. The success rate is an astounding 99%.
This is the latest treatment of varicose veins. Its advantages are that the treatment is more effectively and quickly completed. The procedure consists of introducing a rotating catheter into the damaged vein. An FDA approved medicine (called STD) is injected as the catheter is withdrawn. Its main advantage is that only 1 injection is required, unlike many other procedures that require multiple injections. The medicine that is injected disrupts the lining of the vein which promotes the use of sclerosants to close the vein. Again, the body absorbs the damaged area over time.
There is no need for you to continue to suffer from varicose veins as the treatments are minimally invasive, safe and highly effective. Many of the procedures are covered by insurance. During your consultation at the VIP Medical Group, you can determine your best solution for better health. And there is likely a convenient location near you. In the meantime, you can work on lifestyle changes to reduces that likelihood of what causes varicose veins.