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Understanding Varicose Veins

A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood throughout the body. Normally, these veins do their job like a well oiled pump but sometimes these veins break down, causing the flow of blood to become abnormal.


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 Varicose Vein Causes: They form when valves in the veins that are supposed to direct blood flow towards your heart stop working correctly and, as a result, blood pools in the veins - causing them to enlarge.

Varicose veins are those swollen veins right under the skin. They can be dark purple or blue-ish and look twisted, ropey and bulging - but what exactly causes them - and is there anything that can be done to prevent them?

I am sure most of us have, or know someone who has the enlarged, twisted, superficial veins in their lower legs and ankles known as Varicose+Veins' target=_blank>varicose veins.

They begin as tiny capillaries and appear as blue or red squiggles. They are small red, blue or purple veins that commonly appear on the surface of the thighs, calves and ankles. It's estimated that at least one third of the adult female population is troubled with this common problem. People often seek treatment for spider veins because of cosmetic concern. However, it is also common for spider veins to cause symptoms, such as aching, heaviness, itching and night cramps.

Another method of treatment is called compression sclerotherapy. In this procedure, points of abnormal flow from deep to superficial veins are located and permanently obliterated by the injection of a substance called a sclerosant. Application of continuous pressure then restores the pumping capacity of the vein.

Varicose veins can occur in any part of the body but are more common in the lower extremities. These veins can be due to genetic default but this is not the only cause. Other contributing factors can be prolonged standing or pregnancy. For many women, the first signs of varicose veins appear during pregnancy. Obesity is also a contributing factor. The added pressure of supporting excess weight is almost certain to result in chronic venous breakdown.

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There may also be a brownish discolouration of the skin which is known as stasis pigmentation. This is caused by a breakdown of blood cells leading to a leakage in the affected area and is common in people who have suffered from this condition for a lengthy period of time.

Treatment of varicose veins an be as simple as wearing elasticised compression stockings, controlling your weight, undertaking a moderate exercise program, avoiding prolonged periods of standing, and elevating the legs whenever possible.

The first sign of varicose veins is a swelling along the course of the veins. This may be followed by muscular cramps and a feeling of tiredness in the legs behind the knees. In some cases, the normal flow of blood towards the heart may be reversed when the patient is in an upright position. This results in veinous blood collecting in the lower part of the legs; the skin becomes purplish and pigmented, leading to what is known as varicose eczema or varicose ulcers. Both these conditions cause severe pain.

The word "varicose" refers to a vein that is unnaturally and permanently distended. Vein walls or vein valves near the skin can become damaged from natural stretching or weakening because of the pressure of the blood flowing through the veins. Varicose veins often appear through the skin on a person's legs as blue, bulging and twisted veins; in some cases the veins may be raised or stand out on the surface of the skin.

Varicose veins are abnormally swollen (dilated) and tortous (twisted) veins. Varicose veins are usually situated quite near the surface and are often visible beneath the skin. Varicose veins can vary in size from quite small (2-3mm across) to very large (2-3cms across). Very small veins are called "thread veins" or "spider veins". These veins are different to varicose veins because they are situated within the layers of the skin itself. Although they may be unsightly, they are not the same as varicose veins and can be more difficult to treat.

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, painful superficial veins resulting from poorly functioning valves. Varicose veins are common. They mostly affect women. Varicose veins are also called varicosity and varicosis. In severe cases, varicose veins can lead to skin changes resulting in eczema, pigmentation, and ulceration or bleeding.

In severe cases, a surgical procedure called stripping and ligation may be considered necessary. During this surgery, one or more incisions are made over the varicose veins, and the vein is tied off (ligated). If several valves in the vein and the vein itself are heavily damaged, the vein (or the diseased part of the vein) is usually removed (stripped). An incision is made below the varicose vein, a flexible instrument is threaded up the vein to the first incision, and the vein is grasped and removed.

Vein treatment has become an increasingly popular medical option for people that have different types of vein problems in their arms and legs. Varicose veins and spider veins are the most common vein problems around today for people in the United States and everyone wants to rid themselves of these vein problems as quickly as possible. They are unsightly veins that appear in the arms and legs of patients and are somewhat like stretch marks in that they can be seen by the naked eye and are not attractive whatsoever. Treating vein problems on the body is considered a cosmetic procedure, which means that the patient will have to pay for the treatment out of their own pocket because health insurance companies usually do not cover cosmetic procedures.

Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged and twisted and more often than not appear in the legs of men and women. Varicose veins usually occur after sitting or standing for long periods of time because the blood sits or gets stuck in the veins of the legs and festers there. This makes the veins become enlarged and visible because the blood adds color to them. Symptoms of varicose veins are aching, heavy legs (especially at night and after exercising), ankle swelling, spider veins in the affected leg, a bluish skin color near the affected area, redness, dryness, itchiness, scratches to the area take longer to heal and bleed more than others, restless leg syndrome and white scar-like patches appear near the ankle. Vein treatment can help to relieve a patient of these symptoms and the vein problems altogether.

 

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Usually diagnosis is simply a case of visual observation but sometimes a procedure called phlebography is used. This is a painless procedure in which a solution called a radio-opaque contrast medium is introduced into the bloodstream. Imaging of the veins is then carried out to detect the abnormalities in the blood flow and venous pressure.

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Normally these one-way valves work against gravity to direct blood towards the heart. When they become weakened or damaged and don't close properly the blood may start to flow backward - this is known as Venous Insufficiency or Venous Reflux. When veins near the surface of your skin can't handle the excess blood and pressure they engorge and turn into varicose veins. Heredity, obesity, pregnancy, age trauma and standing or sitting for long periods of time all have the potential to cause damage to the one-way valves (and therefore cause varicose veins)

The signs and symptoms of varicose veins not only includes the unsightly rope-like veins but also a constant dull ache, cramps, swelling and fatigue after standing.

If you have varicose veins, it is necessary to seek medical advice. Your health practitioner will advise you of treatment options and will assist you in the care of your condition.

There are many fast, virtually pain-free varicose vein treatment options - most of them non-surgical. Other than treatment, wearing medical compression hosiery is the most helpful method of decreasing the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.

This treatment does not include surgery at all. There are no surgical procedures involved in this type of vein treatment. The solution that is injected into the body helps the varicose or spider veins disappear from sight and keeps them from returning in the future. Laser and pulsed light treatments are now being used as a compliment to sclerotherapy treatments offered by doctors. Laser and pulsed light treatments help to eliminate smaller veins that injections might not be able to treat. Vein ligation is a surgery that makes an incision above the problem vein so that the vein can be tied off; ultimately preventing any further blood flow to that vein. This surgery will, over time, help the varicose or spider vein disappear

The reason varicose veins develop is not fully understood. One of the basic problems is damage to the valves. This means that blood can't travel up the veins as easily, and is more likely to pool. It is possible that people inherit a tendency for weak valves. Alternatively, the vein walls may become weak, which causes bulging of the vein and so damage to the valves. There is a greater risk of getting varicose veins during pregnancy, and if you are very overweight because this increases the pressure in your abdomen and so in your veins.

Vein treatment for varicose veins and spider veins can include one or more of the following procedures. They are sclerotherapy, laser and pulsed light treatments, vein ligation, ambulatory phlebectomy, laser and pulsed light treatments, and vein stripping. All of these procedures are offered by the majority of cosmetic doctors across the country today and all of them help in the treatment and removal of varicose and spider veins. Many people that suffer from vein problems suffer in two ways; they suffer physically because these vein problems can be very painful to the legs and they suffer emotionally because having these vein problems can weigh on the patient's self conscious because they are unsightly problems. Having sclerotherapy performed involves an injection of drugs into the affected areas of the legs.

Prevention: Unfortunately there are no medically proven ways to completely prevent varicose veins - which means there is no miracle cream or pill you can use that will make them disappear. However, vein specialists say relieving pressure on the veins, as well as promoting muscle strength, helps to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting, and not crossing them when sitting all have potential benefits. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing are also thought to be helpful. High-heeled shoes are a no-no as they don't allow the calf muscles to fully contract.

Another diagnostic procedure available is the use of ultrasound to examine the blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the arms and legs. This procedure is known as Doppler's ultrasonography. Ultrasound is high frequency sound waves that echo off the body. It is performed by applying a water soluble gel to the body and then passing a hand held device known as a transducer over the area.

A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood low in oxygen content from the body to the lungs and heart. It is a normal part of the circulatory system. Veins can become budge with pools of blood when they fail to circulate the blood properly. These visible and bulging veins, called varicose veins, are often associated with symptoms such as tired, heavy, or aching limbs. In severe cases, varicose veins can rupture, or open sores (called "ulcers") can form on the skin. Varicose veins are most common in the legs and thighs.

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