Varicose Veins – Symptoms & Signs
Varicose veins are often looked at as cosmetic issues but the truth, it’s a medical disease and one of the downfalls of pregnancy. Read about the treatment option for varicose veins here.
Many individuals in India (around 30%) have varicose veins of the legs. For some this is just a cosmetic concern, while for others it can cause pain and discomfort.
Varicose veins are defined as swollen, distended veins, usually occurring in the legs. Varicose veins can occur at anywhere in the body, but are most commonly seen in legs. That is because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. It mostly occurs in people aged 30 yrs and above.
It can be caused by weakened valves of veins in the legs. Normally, one-way valves in veins keep blood flowing from legs up toward heart. When these valves do not work as they should, blood collects in the legs, and pressure builds up. The veins become weak, enlarge, and get twisted. They appear blue and black because they contain deoxygenated blood.
People whose job involves standing or sitting for a long period of time, also tend to develop varicose veins in the legs. The muscles around the main veins contract, they force the main veins to empty the blood back into the heart. The longer a person stands without moving, the more the blood pools in the veins. A build-up of pressure in the smaller veins causes the varicose veins problem.
Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause may also be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase risk factor of varicose veins. Being overweight puts added pressure on the veins, therefore varicose veins are more common in the overweight or obese individuals.
In the vast majority of individuals with varicose veins of the feet there is no pain, but the veins might appear dark purple or blue in colour and have a bulging appearance.
Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in the body, but decreases the flow of blood from legs to your pelvis as growing uterus exerts pressure over abdominal veins. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy. Changes in hormones during pregnancy may also play a role.
Varicose Veins Painful signs and symptoms:
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramp and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a severe form of vascular disease that requires medical attention
Varicose veins is not just a cosmetic problem. It’s a medical disease. The damage done once, cannot be reversed and it keeps progressing to the next stage. Thus it’s a progressive and irreversible disease. It should be addressed as soon as possible. There is no medical line of treatment for varicose veins. You need to choose between traditional surgical or modern endovenous laser treatment.
If you think you have varicose veins you should see your doctor. Your doctor will take a history and do a physical examination. A Doppler ultrasound scan of leg veins is done, to check the blood flow pattern in veins and rule out any blood clot.
Varicose veins Treatment and drugs:
The varicose veins disease is irreversible. There are some self-care measures you can take to decrease the discomfort that it can cause. Measures such as exercising, losing weight, elevating legs while sleeping, and avoiding long period of standing or sitting, compression stockings help in delaying the progress of the disease. With medicine or these above said measures, we can only delay the next stage but could not reverse or stop it from progressing further. Varicose veins should be removed completely.
Many patients suffering from varicose veins are offered traditional old therapy of surgery – surgical stripping and ligation – general surgery that involves making incisions in the groin and calf. A stripper tool is threaded through the diseased vein to pull it out of the leg and involves two to three weeks recovery. However, new modern line of treatment should be considered.
A minimally invasive hybrid therapy consists of Endovenous Laser Ablation and Foam Sclerotherapy. This can be preferred over surgery because of its high advantages.
Dr.Balaji Patel.Kola and Dr Sridhar Reddy are practicing this procedure since years. They say that this is a simple and easy day care procedure done through a single needle puncture with no or minimal complications. For cosmetic reasons it is the best as we can prevent the surgery scars on the legs. It doesn’t require general anesthesia therefore no need for hospitalization. It can be done in surgically unfit and risky patients too. Patients can get back to their work the very next day of the treatment. With success rate being more than 95%, chose the best option of endovenous laser treatment.
Dr. Balaji Patel Kola
M.D Radio Diagnosis, F.V.I.R.
Consultant Interventional Radiology
Apollo Hospital – Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad