According to the latest statistics, approximately three out of every ten individuals will have varicose veins at some point in their lives. Small spider or thread veins are even more common than varicose veins. Unfortunately, many people never seek treatment or even have their varicose veins checked by a medical professional. No two people are impacted in the exact same way and it is advisable to have your varicose veins monitored.
The Cause and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
When a vein starts bulging, it is called a varicose vein. The cause is usually the one-way valves responsible for enabling your blood to pass by opening and closing. If your valves stop working properly, you will experience leakage of blood. You blood begins leaking backward resulting in a backflow causing bulging and raised varicose veins. Although the aesthetics may be a concern, you may experience medical issues as well.
The best way to understand varicose veins is to think of ripples in a pond. Each ripple or valve helps your blood reach your heart. The ripples never slip downwards. When your valves collapse or become weak, your fluid and blood travel to your lower legs. As the blood builds, visible and ropy veins appear. Your varicose veins can become worse due to gravity, blood vessel disease, immobility, water retention, standing for long periods, pregnancy or genetics.
Your lower leg may swell if your veins are not functioning correctly. This can cause throbbing, discoloured rashes, swelling, muscle fatigue or skin ulcers. Many of the symptoms of varicose veins are unpleasant such as burning, itching and an achiness or heaviness in your legs. If your varicose veins are extremely severe, there can be damage to your blood vessels. In some cases, this results in deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Approximately 25,000 individuals lose their lives every year due to DVT.
You have veins throughout your entire body. You probably do not give them a second thought until your legs start to look like the ripples in a pond. Varicose veins are uncomfortable, noticeable or enlarged. This results in cosmetic and medical issues impacting approximately one-third of all individuals.
Speaking with a Physician
If prominent veins have appeared on your legs, your best option is talking to a dermatologist, your primary physician or a vascular surgeon. This is even more important if you are uncomfortable. Your symptoms may be the result of a life-threatening or dangerous medical condition or blood vessel disease such as DVT. DVTs are generally swollen, pink or painful areas located in the lower leg. You may feel a lump or cord in your calf.
These symptoms occur most often in individuals with blood clotting disorders, using specific birth control pills, who have become pregnant, remain immobile for lengthy periods, have been travelling or have had orthopaedic surgery recently like a hip replacement. One of the best ways to determine if you have a clot is an ultrasound.
The Treatments for Varicose Veins
If you are experiencing enlarged veins in your lower legs, there are simple precautions you may find helpful. This includes regulating how much salt you consume, exercising regularly, elevating your legs throughout the day and wearing compression stockings or socks. This is a type of garment that will gradually squeeze your lower legs. This helps push the blood back to your heart. Compression stockings can be extremely effective for treating varicose veins.
You need to make certain the label on your compression socks has a 20 through 30 mmHg squeeze rating. You should speak to your physician first because you should not wear them if you have certain vascular or medical conditions. You can also decrease the appearance of varicose veins with medical or cosmetic treatments. Your enlarged veins can be reduced by having endovenous ablation or a phlebectomy (vein stripping) performed by a vascular surgeon.
Endovenous ablation is when enlarged varicose veins are decreased by using either radiofrequency or laser energy. Small vessels including reticular veins, spider veins and matted veins are referred to as telangiectases. All of these issues can be cosmetically reduced or eliminated through the use of IPL (intense pulsed light), a pulsed dye laser or injecting medicine right into your tiny veins. This procedure is called sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy should always be performed by a medical professional with the proper training. This procedure is minimally invasive, and may temporarily result in changes to your skin colour, bruising or redness. In most cases, there will not be any disruption to the surface of your skin. Disruptions can be a contributing factor to circulation issues or cause scarring. If you have a history of vascular disease, blood clots or are breastfeeding or pregnant, you should not have this therapy performed.
The Varicose Vein Check
A varicose vein check is generally performed by a vascular surgeon through a duplex ultrasound scan. This is not the same as a traditional ultrasound because the surgeon can see how the blood flows through your veins in addition to their location. Once your veins have been examined, your results will be explained by the vascular surgeon. You will receive recommendations from the surgeon regarding whether or not your require treatment and the type of treatment most appropriate for your needs.
The good news is, it is unlikely you will need to remain in the hospital or experience a lengthy and uncomfortable period of recovery. Varicose vein procedures have become much less invasive. This means your treatment will probably be performed on an outpatient basis.
Having your Varicose Veins Treated
There are numerous different treatments currently available for varicose veins. The best treatment for your needs will be recommended by a vascular surgeon. This will help ensure you receive optimal results. One of the most popular treatments for the removal of varicose veins is called EVLA (endovenous laser ablation). NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) considers this varicose vein treatment the Gold Standard.
During your treatment, a laser optic fiber is inserted into your vein. The emission of laser light will then heat and collapse the vein. VenaSeal is another commonly performed option. If you have a phobia of needles, the surgeon may recommend this treatment because each vein requires just one injection. Your treatment begins with the insertion of a catheter into your vein. Sapheon Glue in small amounts is them dispensed by the VenaSeal tool. This will close your problem vein.
If your vein is not well suited for either VenaSeal or EVLA treatment, you do have other options. This includes phlebectomy and sclerotherapy. In some instances, these treatments are used in conjunction with another option. During sclerotherapy, chemical foam is injected into your vein. This results in the destruction and collapse of the vein walls. Tiny and careful incisions are used for the removal of surface veins during a phlebectomy. You will not need any stitches.
Vein stripping and high ligation is a procedure where your vein is tied off. This is prior to where it joins your deeper vein. Small incisions are used to remove your vein. In most instances, this is an outpatient procedure. The circulation throughout your leg will not be negatively impacted by removing your vein. This is because your blood will be carried through your deeper veins.
New technology has enabled laser treatments for closing spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Strong light bursts are sent by the laser into your veins. Your vein will gradually fade until it is gone. No needles or incisions are necessary during this procedure. If you have advanced leg ulcers not responding to other treatments, endoscopic vein surgery may be an option. The procedure begins when a thin video camera is inserted by the surgeon into your leg.
The surgeon is then able to close and remove your veins by making small incisions. This procedure is also on an outpatient basis. There are varicose vein treatments suitable for every lifestyle and patient. All of the procedures are explained in detail by the medical professional. This enables the creation of a personal treatment plan.
The Benefits of EVLT
EVLT offers you a wide range of benefits. The most common benefits have been detailed below.
- Non-Surgical and Minimally Invasive: This is an outpatient and minimally invasive procedure. EVLT has received approval as an extremely effective varicose vein treatment. You will need to allow between 15 and 20 minutes for your treatment. As soon as your treatment is complete, your normal activities can be resumed. This treatment is often scheduled during lunch breaks since the individual can immediately go back to work.
- Higher-Quality Sleep: One of the most common complications of varicose veins is restless legs. This condition usually worsens during the night and can be painful. The need to shake or move your legs to help with the pain interferes with your sleep. Once your varicose vein has been treated, your sleep will improve.
- Beautiful and Healthy Legs: After your treatment, you will once again be comfortable wearing a skirt or shorts. The loss of unsightly veins results in a boost of self-confidence. Once the need to hide your varicose veins has been eliminated, you will be happier. The days of becoming concerned someone might notice your varicose veins will be in the past.
- Improved Mobility: Your normal movements may be impacted by the swelling due to varicose veins. It is not uncommon for individuals with varicose veins to decrease their activity because of heavy and tired legs. The underlying condition is also treated during your procedure such as diseased varicose veins. This means both your mobility and quality of life will improve.
- The Elimination of Pain: After your procedure, you will experience relief from the discomfort or pain resulting from your varicose veins. Every vein that has been impacted will be determined through an ultrasound. This means all varicose veins can be eliminated, not just the ones you are able to see.
- The Cost of Treatment: A lot of people are afraid to have their varicose veins treated due to the cost of the procedure if the NHS will not provide treatment. There is a good chance your private health plan will cover part or all of the cost.
- Varicose Veins Diagnosis & Management Guidelines by NICE
- Recovery after Varicose Vein Treatments
- Stages of Vein Disease and When to Take Action
- What Causes Varicose Veins to Reappear After Treatment
- Veinwave Treatment