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Varicose Veins - Causes, Prevention, Symptoms, and Treatments

Author: Dr. Saurabh Joshi - Common Medical Conditions  

Varicose veins are large ugly looking veins in the legs that can cause pain, itching, skin darkening, and even skin ulceration over your feet.

What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

  • Serpent-like veins in the legs that are seen especially after standing for a long period of time.
  • Pain in the calves.
  • Skin darkening over the feet.
  • Skin ulceration.

What Are the Risk Factors for Getting Varicose Veins?

This is a very common condition affecting nearly 30 % of the population. This is especially common in people who have to stand for long periods of time, obese individuals, and those who have a positive family history for this disease.

What Causes Veins to Become Varicose?

There are two sets of veins in the feet, a superficial system, and a deep system. These veins have valves in them that prevent backflow of blood. When these valves in the superficial venous system of the leg malfunction, it causes superficial venous reflux. The blood starts pooling in the legs, and this increases venous pressure, resulting in dilated and tortuous veins.

How Is This Condition Diagnosed?

A clinical examination and venous Doppler ultrasound (to look for an incompetent saphenofemoral junction and superficial venous reflux) would be able to diagnose this condition.

How Is This Treated?

Traditionally, open surgery and stripping along with ligation of the great saphenous vein was the only treatment available, but this would be a big surgery and cause a large scar on the thigh.

New treatments like Minimally Invasive Laser Ablation of the great saphenous vein is done through a pinhole puncture in the lower thigh. These treatments are very effective in treating this condition and leaves no scar behind. This is actually a day care procedure.

What Would Happen If Varicose Veins Are Not Treated?

This condition would progressively worsen and cause the veins to become larger, the skin over the feet would darken and eventually break open causing an ulcer.

How Can I Prevent Varicose Veins?

  • Avoid prolonged standing.
  • If your job needs you to stand for long periods, wear compression stalkings.
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged for long periods.
  • Regular exercises especially walking would help.
Image: Varicose Veins - Causes, Prevention, Symptoms, and Treatments Last reviewed at: 15.Dec.2018

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