Want to learn more about varicose veins? On this page you will discover what varicose veins are and how to prevent varicose veins using compression stockings. Information about symptoms and treatments for varicose can also be found here. This page is updated frequently so please return often to learn more about varicose veins.
Varicose veins are enlarged veins located beneath the skin that are swollen, gnarled, and twisted. They can be raised above the surface of the skin. Superficial varicose veins look dark blue or purple through the skin. Varicose veins usually occur on the legs, ankles, and feet.
Varicose veins are usually caused when valves in the veins stop working properly. In a normal vein the muscles contract forcing the blood upwards toward the heart. The valves are a one way valve allowing the blood to pass through in only one direction, preventing the blood from backing up. . When the valves fail to function properly they remain open allowing the blood to flow backwards and pool in the lower veins. This causes the veins to get larger and painful.What are spider veins?
Spider veins are varicose veins that occur in the tiny veins located just under the skin. They are usually found on the lower legs and ankles. They appear red or dark blue and resemble a spider’s web or branches of trees. Spider veins are caused by the backup of blood due to improperly working valves.How common are varicose veins?
Varicose veins affect about 50 – 55% of women and 40-45% of men. Varicose veins usually occur with increased age, family history, pregnancy, obesity, or leg injury. People who stand for prolonged periods of time also are likely to develop varicose veins.How can I prevent varicose veins?
Nothing can be done to completely prevent varicose veins. However, there are some actions you can take to reduce the chances of varicose veins and spider veins spreading or becoming uncomfortable.
· Wear support stockings or compression stockings when standing for a long time.
· Avoid wearing tight restricting clothing around your ankles, legs, and waist.
· Maintain a low salt high fiber diet.
· Elevate your legs when resting.
· Exercise your leg muscles when standing or sitting for long periods of time. You should also shift your weight from time to time.
· Exercise you legs regularly to help your blood circulation and maintain vein health.
· Maintain proper body weight.
· Wearing sunscreen when exposed to the sun may help prevent spider veins.What are the signs and symptoms of varicose veins?
In addition to the unsightly appearance of varicose veins you may also experience other symptoms such as:
· Pain or aching of your legs (especially after prolong standing).
· Itching in the legs.
· Rash in the legs (especially at the ankles).
· Leg numbness.
· Chronic tired legs.
· Sense of heaviness in the legs.
· Darkening or ulceration in the legs (especially at the ankles).
· Leg swelling.Should I see a doctor for my varicose veins?
Yes, especially if you experiencing any of the above symptoms. Only a doctor can diagnose the cause and severity of your varicose veins. Your doctor can advise you on an appropriate treatment. It is best to see a doctor who specializes in vein disorders and phlebology.What tests are required to diagnose varicose veins?
While a simple history and physical examination is all that is usually required to diagnose varicose veins other tests may be required to determine the cause. Finding the cause of varicose will determine what, if any, treatment is necessary. The most common diagnostic procedure is an ultrasound examination to determine the condition of the vein valves. For more information on diagnosing varicose veins click here.What is an ultrasound test?
An ultrasound examination is a machine that exposes the region of the body to high frequency sound waves. The sound waves are reflected back to the machine and an image of the underlying body parts are viewed on a screen. An ultrasound examination is noninvasive and painless. For more information on the ultrasound exam you will have to evaluate and treat your varicose veins see our ultrasound imaging page.What are the treatments for varicose veins?
Recent strides in endovascular techniques and laser technology have revolutionized the treatment for varicose veins. What used to be an operation with ugly scars and long recovery times is now a simple procedure with no recovery time. Most procedures are performed in the doctor’s office or clinic and the patient returns to normal functions immediately. See our varicose vein laser treatment page for an in depth look at these new procedures.