First things first: The What
We have all experienced being stuck in a traffic jam at some point in our lives. That jam is usually caused by a problem causing blockade on the road. The blockade results in the choking of traffic on the route. In our body, our blood is like the many drivers that travel each day and the vessels or the tubes are the roads that are spread across the body.
Veins are the roads that bring the weary travelers back home from work. Medically speaking, veins’ responsibility is to transport blood drained of oxygen from the periphery of the human body back to the heart. The veins are mainly of two types. One type exists under the muscles. The other is just under the layer of fat beneath the skin. If we look closely at our skin we can see bluish purple lines peeking through. Those are the veins forming the superficial venous system. Imagine if one of those particular gets flooded with blood. The excessive amount of blood would cause it to swell. Since the veins are almost right under the skin therefore they would be easily visible. This phenomenon of swelling of veins is termed as Varicose Veins.
To explain it further, the veins comprise of valves that are at regular intervals within them. The valves stop the blood from coming back down. If a valve is affected and opens up, it would result in blood pooling into the section below. Eventually the valve of the section would give out under the pressure of the blood. As a result the whole vein would swell.
Now, the Why
There are four things that can result in varicosity of veins
- Standing for extended periods of time
- Multiple pregnancies
- Venous Injury
- GeneticsIf there is a family history of weak veins, chances are that you might also suffer from varicose veins. This is so because your body is naturally prone to developing this issue.
- Standing for extended periods of timeThis one is a no-brainer. When you stand for longer than what you are used to, the pressure of the blood in the legs increases which affects the strength of the valves in the veins. Over time, they valves weaken and gape to allow the blood to flow downwards to the feet instead of flowing to the heart.
- Multiple pregnanciesWith the gradual growth of the uterus, it becomes more challenging for the blood to flow back to the heart from the veins. This can cause the veins to engorge. Usually such varicosity heals up on its own within a period of a few months after the delivery.
- Venous Injury
Venous injury is not the most common cause of varicose veins but it is definitely possible.
An injury to the vein can cause it to weaken. This is often seen in people who do heavy weightlifting.
The available treatments for varicose veins are less invasive and do not require a patient to be admitted into the hospital for days.
How can they be prevented?
Treatment of any problem or issue requires one to make a few changes. In this case the changes are simple. Since this is caused by bad blood circulation, it can easily be prevented by light exercise to ensure proper circulation
If you are an individual that spends most of the day standing, try to change it. Avoiding standing for long periods of time can prevent the veins from forming.
How to cure varicose veins once they are formed?
Before you reach out to any other treatments consider wearing compression stockings. Compression stockings hug the legs tightly and aid the blood flow, if worn all day. Different brands offer different types of stockings and each has a different level of compression. Most pharmacies and medical supply stores sell compression stockings.
Treatment options for more severe varicose veins
In case of more severity, the doctor may suggest you to consider:
If done correctly, this treatment can be quite effective. In this treatment, the affected vein is injected with a solution or foam which scars the vein. This allows the vein to close. The varicosity fades over the course of a few weeks. This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia. However, the same vein may require to be injected more than once.
This is used for smaller varicose veins by focusing laser beams on the veins to reduce and cure them. No needle incision is required in this process.
Catheter assisted procedures
Catheter is a thin tube that is pushed into the swollen vein. Doctors opt for this procedure when the vein is larger. The tip of the catheter is heated. The catheter is then pulled out to damage the vein. The heat causes the vein to close. The heat can either be from radiofrequency or laser energy.
High Ligation and vein Stripping
The vein is tied off right where it joins a deep vein. The connection between the deep vein and the superficial vein which removes the possibility of blood flowing into it. It doesn’t affect blood circulation much because the bulk of the blood is taken up to the heart by deep veins.
Local anesthesia is given on the affected vein. Small nicks are made on the vein to remove it. It might cause a bit of scarring. This procedure is prescribed to patients on whom there are some residual varicose veins even after other treatments. Usually, it doesn’t come to this as the success rate of other treatments in most patients is higher.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery
Like ambulatory Phlebectomy this is a treatment given to advanced cases of varicose veins. If the leg is suffering from ulcers then this technique is applied. Endoscope is a camera. It is pushed in the leg to see the problem clearly so that the vein can be sealed. Once sealed, the vein is removed via small cuts. This also doesn’t require hospitalization of the patient.
Read more about Varicose Veins Treatment.