Following a well-balanced diet and enjoying regular exercise are essential elements to living a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, certain conditions may still arise, affecting your mobility, appearance, and self-esteem. Considering an estimated 35 percent of people in the United States have varicose veins, understanding the condition is smart. Using this guide, you will understand how varicose veins develop and learn the best options for treating these unsightly veins.
The Development of Varicose Veins
Your veins carry blood through your body to your heart. As the muscles in your legs squeeze and tense, pressure builds up in the veins. This pressure can weaken the walls and valves of the veins, causing blood to build up. This buildup of blood will make the veins appear larger and darker. Known as varicose veins, these larger and darker veins are unappealing and uncomfortable.
Signs of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins may be blue, red, or flesh-colored and look similar to cords that twist and bulge. In most cases, they will be visible on the thighs, inside the legs, or on the back of the calves.
Varicose veins are easy to see, but you may also experience one or more of these other signs:
- Feeling of heaviness
- Aching or cramping after sitting or standing for long periods
- Restless leg syndrome
- Dark discoloration of skin
Treatment for Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are not a dangerous, life-threatening condition, but they can affect your appearance and self-esteem. Removing the veins for cosmetic purposes is possible. However, treatment is imperative if your varicose veins are causing you pain and discomfort.
The first step in treating your varicose veins will most likely involve compression stockings. These stockings squeeze the legs, which improves the circulation of blood through the veins.
Wearing the stockings throughout the day will relieve symptoms while preventing the progression of the varicose veins. Purchasing support pantyhose is an option, but these offer the least amount of pressure. For the best results, your doctor can prescribe custom-fitted compression stockings.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment option for varicose veins, but you may not be familiar with this procedure. During sclerotherapy, your doctor will inject a solution directly into the varicose vein. This chemical solution causes the veins to swell and close, which prevents further blood flow. The veins will fade over a period of time after the procedure. Sclerotherapy is effective in reducing the appearance of varicose veins, but it also relieves pain, discomfort, and swelling associated with the condition.
Endovenous laser surgery is another option to consider to efficiently reduce the physical signs and symptoms of varicose veins. The procedure utilizes a laser to heat up the problematic veins. This heat shrinks the vein while causing scar tissue to form, which seals off the vein to prevent the further flow of blood.
Since laser surgery is becoming a popular option for varicose vein treatment, you should understand the steps involved in the procedure. To get started, you will need to wear a hospital gown while lying down on the doctor's table. Your doctor will give you a pair of goggles to protect your eyes during the laser surgery.
Numbing medicine will be injected into the varicose vein. Once the vein is numb, doctors will use an ultrasound to check the vein before, during, and after the laser heat is applied. A small incision will be made, allowing the doctor to insert and guide a thin catheter into the vein.
A laser fiber is then inserted into the catheter. As the doctor slowly pulls out the catheter, the laser will heat the vein, causing it to shrink and close.
Living with varicose veins is possible, but proper understanding of this unsightly condition is smart. With this guide and the help of your doctor, you will understand how the veins develop and learn the best options for treatment. For more information and advice, talk to a doctor at a medical clinic like Premier Surgical Associates.